Vera Kobalia

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Vera Kobalia
Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development
In office
2 July 2010 – 25 October 2012
President Mikheil Saakashvili
Preceded by Zurab Pololikashvili
Succeeded by Giorgi Kvirikashvili
Personal details
Born 24 August 1981
Sukhumi, Georgia
Website Government of Georgia

Vera Kobalia (Georgian: ვერა ქობალია) (born August 24, 1981) is a Georgian politician who has served in the Cabinet of Georgia as the country's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development from 2 July 2010 to 25 October 2012.

Early life[edit]

Kobalia was born in 1981 in Sukhumi in the disputed Georgian region of Abkhazia.[1] In 1996, her family emigrated to Canada because of the instability brought about by the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict.[2] She attended King George Secondary School, and subsequently the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, British Columbia, where in 2004 she graduated with a degree in business administration and informational technologies.[1]

Political career[edit]

Kobalia lived in Canada until late 2009 where she worked for European Breads Bakery, the Vancouver-based company started by her father in 2001, after which she moved back to Georgia.[2] In February 2010, Kobalia co-founded the Coalition for Justice, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the rights internally displaced persons within Georgia, and to increase public awareness of the problems of Georgian IDPs around the world.[2]

In June 2010, Kobalia was appointed by President Mikheil Saakashvili as the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development in the Cabinet of Georgia, and her appointment was confirmed by the Parliament of Georgia on July 2, 2010. Kobalia said that agriculture and tourism would be the two biggest priority sectors of her tenure,[3] and she vowed to reorganize her department under the slogan "no nepotism" to help purge institutional corruption in government.[4]

Kobalia's appointment raised eyebrows because of Kobalia's young age (she was only 28 at the time of her appointment) and lack of political experience. She first came to President Saakashvili's attention four months before her appointment when a delegation of Vancouver's Georgian community met with the president while he was in town for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[5] Nodar Javakhishvili, the former head of the Georgian National Bank, was quoted as saying that Kobalia had been appointed "without having either the necessary education or any experience whatsoever."[6] Other pundits have noted that President Saakashvili, himself only 36 when he came to power, has a habit of appointing young ministers and openly claims that pulling the younger generation into positions of power is a deliberate strategy to build a new Georgia free from the legacy of Soviet domination.[6]

“World Economic Forum” named Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Vera Kobalia as Young Global Leader 2012. Vera Kobalia is the only Georgian politician who won this award.

Kobalia lost her position after Saakashvili's United National Movement lost majority of parliamentary seats to the Georgian Dream coalition in the October 1, 2012 parliamentary election. On October 25, 2012, she was succeeded by the Georgian Dream member Giorgi Kvirikashvili.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Official biography". Government of Georgia website. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  2. ^ a b c "Cabinet Slightly Reshuffled". Civil Georgia. Tbilisi. 2010-06-25. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Georgia's PM outlines tasks for new economy minister". Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review. 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  4. ^ "Museful minister ... of economic affairs". Georgia Times. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  5. ^ Bailey, Ian (2010-07-28). "From Vancouver bakery to Georgian cabinet". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  6. ^ a b Walker, Shaun (2010-07-28). "Russia rails at Georgian minister's 'stripper' photos". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  7. ^ Ivanishvili Confirmed as Prime Minister. Civil Georgia. October 25, 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Zurab Pololikashvili
Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development
July 2, 2010 – October 25, 2012
Succeeded by
Giorgi Kvirikashvili