April 13, 2023
Prime Minister, Ukraine
In the midst of Ukraine’s war efforts, the focus of both domestic and foreign leaders has shifted towards the daunting task of reviving the country's economy. Meeting the challenges of redevelopment and modernization will take concerted public- and private-sector efforts, especially when it comes to planning for future needs.
Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, spoke at the U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the current situation in his country and the nation’s recovery efforts, as well as economic and business opportunities that lie ahead.
International Support Has Helped Ukraine’s Ongoing Reconstruction
The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 has been considered a major escalation of the ongoing conflict between the two countries.
“This war is not only about Ukraine — this war is a fight for democracy [and] values,” said Prime Minister Shymhal. “We feel that we are not alone in our struggle. The United States and our international partners have provided unprecedented levels of military, financial, [and] humanitarian support for Ukraine.”
Prime Minister Shymal specifically mentioned the role of the Biden Administration in building a strong pro-Ukrainian coalition.
“Partly because of this international support, our financial economic banking and energy system have survived against Russian attacks,” he said. “Ukraine has launched a number of reforms over the past year and has developed a plan for the fundamental transformation of our country.”
Ukraine’s EU Membership and Anticorruption Reforms Are On Track
Amid the war, Ukraine became a candidate for EU membership and has been integrating into the European single market.
“The Ukrainian energy system became part of the European Union (EU),” Prime Minister Shmyhal said. “We can now directly import and export electricity, and we implement the best European regulations in the energy sector.”
The country has also focused on anticorruption reforms. In March 2023, the main European anti-corruption institution Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published a report that Ukraine has implemented more anti-corruption reforms in the past year than the previous one, stating that “Ukraine has made remarkable progress in anti-corruption reforms during the last year.”
Additionally, Ukraine has adopted an anti-corruption program as an order for its cabinet of ministers.
“Our government, our president, our society have zero tolerance for corruption,” said Prime Minister Shmyhal. “[That] means that corruption in Ukraine is in the past, and we will move ahead into the democratic civilized values of the European Union and civilized world.”
Potential Investments Exist in New Sectors For Global Involvement
Prime Minister Shmyhal noted that Ukraine is currently deregulating parts of the economy, including abolishing hundreds of permits and licenses to encourage business activity during and after the war. Additionally, the country is working with its partners on a military risk insurance program, designed to support international companies that will invest in Ukraine.
“For any large company wishing to invest in our country, we offer a specially appointed government advisor who will help with absolutely all operational issues,” said Prime Minister Shmyhal. “Those who invest in Ukraine now will have excellent prospects and good profits. Ukraine's recovery plan has a special place in our discussions with international partners.”
Public, Private, and International Assets Serve as Ukraine’s Source of Reconstruction
Reconstruction and recovery needs are estimated by World Bank at $411 billion. The Ukrainian government has identified five priorities for this recovery, which include the reconstruction and modernization of the energy system, housing construction, humanitarian aid, restoration of critical and social infrastructure, and economic incentives for small and medium businesses.
“To implement projects in these five areas, we will need $14 billion this year,” the Prime Minister said. “We hope that our international partners, especially in the U.S., will help us raise the necessary funds.”
Currently, funding sources include international financial organizations, the Ukraine state budget, individual and private sector donations, and confiscated Russian assets.
“Ukraine wants peace and justice more than anyone else, and we dream that this war will end as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Shmyhal emphasized. “Our strength lies in our unity, in our common values, and our readiness to fight for them. We are united in defense today, and we will be united in our recovery tomorrow after our mutual victory.”