At a recent investment conference in London, Sergiy Tsivkach, CEO of UkraineInvest, the country’s investment promotional agency, had very good news to share. Quite the anomaly.
While in March 2022, the vast majority (86%) of businesses in Ukraine stopped or almost stopped their operations, today the majority are “back to business”. Tsivkach was also proud to announce the largest (publicly confirmed) foreign direct investment project to Ukraine since the outbreak of the invasion, with Ireland-based Kingspan committing $200m (€187.76m) for a new technology campus that will be built over the next five years and, eventually, employ more than 1,000 people.
Focusing on the positives in Ukraine
Amid war, success stories such as those shared by Tsivkach are rarely heard, but extremely important to share as the Ukrainian economy looks, and continues, to renew itself.
The country’s IT sector is another case in point. “Our tech and IT companies continue to grow, regardless of the war,” explained Oksana Myronko, head of communications at the European Business Association (EBA). “They continue to open new branches in the global arena. In fact, the sector grew 20–25% annually pre-war, and it will probably stay the same for this year.”
International economic linkages with the country are also healthier than many might expect. “It is necessary to look away from the war news a bit,” said Anna Derevyanko, executive director of the EBA, which has, for 23 years, united Ukrainian and international companies across a slew of sectors (in fact, it now represents some 925 businesses). “Ukraine is still open for different areas of opportunities across agribusiness, logistics, manufacturing, tech – and especially in terms of trade and outsourcing.”
Derevyanko believes that companies can also begin drawing up plans to make investments in Ukraine but admits that appetite for this is lower due to ongoing issues surrounding political risk insurance. “That said, within our members at EBA, we see that companies are positive about 2023. They would like to invest an average amount of $3m each next year,” she added.
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As part of a private sector effort to share this good news, promote trade and investment and connect international companies with local ones, the EBA has set up an extra-territorial business association called Global Business for Ukraine (GB4U).
“GB4U can help guide foreign companies and individuals who are looking for economic opportunities in Ukraine, or charitable ones too,” said Derevyanko. “I encourage all prospective investors to get in touch!”