Fresh will invest in Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city, despite lingering concerns over last year’s invasion by Russian forces and an ongoing domestic political crisis. The Cairo-based company will expand into making textiles, furniture and ceramic goods in the next two years, according to Fresh vice-president Mohamed Rafat.

Fresh’s investment makes MENA investors the most important source for the country’s much-needed inward investment, following about $1bn-worth of damage in the wake of Russia’s invasion and an investment gap created by the instability.

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The United Arab Emirates is Georgia’s leading foreign investor, accounting for 52% of capital inflows in 2009, according to greenfield investment monitor fDi Intelligence.