As Ukraine remains entrenched in its ongoing conflict, public and private sector leaders worldwide have been focused on aiding the country's economic recovery. Through the implementation of programs and partnerships, government and business leaders are working hand in hand to rebuild Ukraine’s global position and set the nation up for financial stability moving forward.
Organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can play a critical role in supporting these efforts. In a keynote address at the U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Samantha Power, the Administrator of USAID, gave insights on the agency’s evolving role in aiding Ukraine and the importance of business contributions to boost Ukraine's economy.
Ukraine Continues to Grow Despite the War
Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine — and Russian missile strikes that knocked out the country’s power — areas such as Lviv have continued to see rapid growth, according to Power.
“Some sectors… are not merely returning to normal — they're actually growing, even during this brutal war,” Power shared. “The Kingspan Group, an Irish insulation and building materials company, recently announced a $200 million investment to construct a technology campus in Lviv. They will build six high-tech plants and employ 600 to 800 people when construction begins next year.”
Across the country, businesses are returning with new projects in the works — many of which are spearheaded by large corporations, such as Nestle and Bayer, along with tech companies.
“Nestle is investing nearly $43 million in a new food production facility, which is going to add 1,500 new jobs,” Power explained. “Bayer, a close partner of USAID, is investing over $65 million to expand a corn seed production facility with state-of-the-art agriculture field equipment, storage facilities, and bomb shelters to protect employees.”
USAID’s Programs Aim to Support the Ukrainian People
Data shows that Ukraine’s growth is expected to continue throughout the year and beyond, with 98% of surveyed businesses at the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine stating their intent to stay in the country in 2023. To feed these growth opportunities, Power highlighted opportunities and programs that USAID is providing to contribute to the country’s success.
“[USAID], together with the World Bank, announced a $132 million program to increase access to financing for Ukrainian farmers so that they can get the capital they need now to be in a position to plant next year's harvest,” Power said.
However, funding isn’t the only support USAID provides. Just this week, USAID signed a memorandum of understanding in which they will work with the government of Ukraine and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) on President Zelensky’s Advantage Ukraine initiative.
“Advantage Ukraine works with companies to connect them with potential investment opportunities,” Power explained. “Foreign investors can express interest in investing in a particular sector while Ukrainian businesses… who are looking for support can propose projects. Now, USAID and the DFC will build on this effort and help turn these connections into actual investment contracts and deals.”
The U.S. Is Mitigating Risk to Conduct Business in Ukraine
In fighting attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, the U.S. and its partners are working to support the country’s economic development through efforts like helping to restore consistent electricity to operate a business.
“USAID spent months helping Ukrainians repair critical infrastructure, delivering transformers, generators, and even a mobile power plant big enough to power 100,000 homes,” Power said. “Now, the power in many places is not only back on, but actually producing such a surplus that this week, for the first time, Ukraine began supplying parts of Moldova and Poland with power again.”
Though conducting business in Ukraine comes with risks, Power believes the impact is worthwhile for the country — and its democracy. And she emphasized that for those who do take the risk, the U.S. government will have their back.
“As you consider the potential opportunities in Ukraine, I urge you to think of them in terms of the innovation risk curve,” Power said. “By investing in Ukraine, you can join companies like Kingspan, Nestle, and Bayer in the group of early adopters. You can invest in Ukraine's future — and democracy's future.”