Air Date

April 13, 2023

Featured Guests

Lenna Koszarny
Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Capital

Gary McGuigan
President for Global Trade and Chief Risk Officer, ADM

Christopher Padilla
Vice President, Government & Regulatory Affairs, IBM

Mike Parrish
Vice President of Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability, Bayer


Jose W. Fernandez
Undersecretary For Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, U.S. Department of State


Ukraine has access to vast and diverse resources, including its geography, natural features, and a rich pool of human capital. Despite these advantages, the country’s full potential has yet to be realized, with many key economic sectors remaining underdeveloped, including agriculture and technology.

During the U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, leaders discussed how public-private partnerships could help realize this potential, with a focus on strategic investment and improved integration into global supply chains.

There Are Many Growth Advantages in Ukraine’s Agriculture and Technology Economic Sectors

Despite the war, there are many advantages in Ukraine’s agriculture and technology sectors. Lenna Koszarny, Founding Partner and CEO of Horizon Capital, the country’s largest tech investor, shared how technology as an industry drives resilience in Ukraine. 

“Despite the challenges, the tech sector is flourishing,” Koszarny said. “Despite all the horror that we’ve seen over the last year, we see a tech sector that is resilient, that has grown over 6%, that employs a great deal of young, new generation of professionals across the country.”

Christopher Padilla, Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs at IBM, shared how Ukraine’s abundant technological talent is a significant advantage. 

“The tech business is a talent business, and Ukraine has amazing talent,” he said. “You can see it in the innovation and the entrepreneurship in what is probably one of the best e-government citizen service apps of any government on Earth that the Ukraine government has created. [It] provides an incredible range of services through people’s smartphones.”

Gary McGuigan, President for Global Trade and Chief Risk Officer at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), echoed that Ukraine’s talent accounts for much of the agricultural opportunities across the country in addition to their geographical advantages that support the global supply chain. 

“The fertile soil in Ukraine is a huge advantage,” McGuigan said. “The assets they have within the agricultural sector, especially the port of Odesa, is critical to the food security within the region of North Africa and the Middle East.”

Despite the Synergy Between Agriculture and Tech, Infrastructure Constraints Could Hinder Economic Growth

With advancements in regenerative agriculture and sustainability, there is a unique synergy between Ukraine’s agriculture and technology sectors. However, the country’s economic infrastructure constraints challenge further development. 

According to McGuigan, one of the country’s most pressing constraints is its ability to export. 

“The Ukraine export produces between 90 and 100 million tons of agricultural commodities exports,” he said, adding that without the Green Corridor to export to the Black Sea, the uncertainty of that route is “the biggest constraint … in the short and medium term to the agricultural sector.” 

Mike Parrish, Vice President of Public Affairs for Science and Sustainability at Bayer, thinks protection for small- and medium-sized enterprises and de-mining efforts also present challenges. 

“[The farmers] need seeds to grow a crop, but they also need fertilizer,” he said. “They need crop protection. They need all of the things so they can put a crop in the ground … so it can be exported.”

“The other piece that’s added to the complexity is de-mining,” Parrish continued. “That’s a tremendous challenge to farm in a war setting.”

In the technology sector, access to capital and the threat of cybersecurity attacks are the most significant constraints to growth. With government funds now being directed to the war effort, said Koszarny, access to capital for tech entrepreneurs is critical.

As for the cybersecurity threat, Padilla is focusing on developing “cyber resilience and data center management in Ukraine… [so] global clients will see Ukraine as a great place to have their data run from just as they do today in Poland, Slovakia, or another Eastern European country.”

Public-Private Partnerships Are Essential for Stabilizing Entrepreneurship

To help Ukraine stabilize its economic infrastructure in preparation for reconstruction and development after the war, Parrish advocates for public-private partnerships. 

“[Private businesses] build back the agriculture sector in Ukraine better than it exists,” said Parrish. “And there are a lot of opportunities to do that, whether it be infrastructure so that grain can flow in different ways. But it’s also in infrastructure so they can adopt digital technologies in agriculture so that their agriculture industry is ready for the next crisis or the next challenge that comes.”

Koszarny believes this same concept applies to the technology sector. 

“This building back better concept extends to SMEs as well,” she said. “Really, this is the moment for Ukraine to shift into SMEs and to promote that sector of the economy.”