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Is a Professor of Economics at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, a Chief Research Associate at the Paata Gugushvili Institute of Economics, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, and a Senior Fellow at the Rondeli Foundation—Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies.  

He was the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Georgia (1994-2000), a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Georgia (2004-2008) and a Rector of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (2013-2016); in 2005-2006 he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Central Asia—Caucasus Institute, The Nitze School—SAIS, Johns Hopkins University (Washington, DC).

He is the author more than 300 publications, including works on the theoretical and applied studies of post-Communist economies, macroeconomics and economic development, geopolitics and geoeconomics of Georgia, the Caucasus and Central Eurasia. Prof. Papava holds a Degree of the Candidate of Economic Sciences from Central Economic-Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1982, Moscow, Russia), a Degree of the Doctor of Economic Sciences from Leningrad State University (1990, Saint-Petersburg, Russia), and Tbilisi State University (1989, Tbilisi, Georgia).

He is an academician of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences (from 2013).

In 2004 he was awarded the National Prize of Georgia in Science for the Series of Publications – “The Methods and Models of Macroeconomic Regulations” (together with a group of Georgian economists), and in 2008 – the Philippe Gogichaishvili Prize of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences for the book – Necroeconomics: The Political Economy of Post-Communist Capitalism (New York, 2005).