Georgia is a country of great economic potential but until it regularizes the supply of power to industry and to its citizenry, economic progress will be limited. The aging Shevardnadze, despite many imperfections, has played a pivotal role in securing stability. The question of who or what will follow his departure from the political scene remains unresolved. Political institutions and civic values are not yet rooted enough in Georgian society to permit total confidence in a smooth transition to a younger generation of politicians. The country will endure great difficulties in meeting external financial obligations. The shortfall in public spending—primarily on health, education, and welfare—will continue to bear hardest on the nation's poor. Georgia's greatest potential in the short-to medium-term lies in its geographical location. The government is committed to providing a trans-Georgian transportation infrastructure connecting Europe with central Asia to cater to an anticipated oil bonanza in the coming decades. The implementation of this so-called "Silk Route" project should enhance Georgia's international credentials, but this opportunity will be squandered if the endemic corruption that has plagued Georgia for decades is not seriously addressed.