Over 2,000 participants of the fifth Kyiv International Economic Forum (KIEF) were exchanging ideas and experience, finding partners, clients, and investors on October 18–19, 2018 in Kyiv. KIEF has confirmed its reputation as a world-class business event and a powerful platform for dialogue between Ukrainian and foreign business, which plays the role of a generator of new investment projects.
More than 100 speakers—well-known entrepreneurs, economists, investors, representatives of financial organizations and authorities from more than 30 countries have participated in this Forum. More than 150 representatives of both Ukrainian and foreign media—from the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, and France—have covered the Forum.
The Forum was opened by the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman. He drew attention to the growth of Ukraine’s GDP for ten quarters in a row and the country’s rise in most global ratings, but he also noted that we can and must achieve even greater growth because Ukraine has a large unrealized potential. Mr. Prime Minister is confident that human capital can help the Ukrainian economy to grow by more than 5% a year. Therefore, one of the Government’s priorities is investment in education and training of professional personnel.
The future of countries, businesses, and communities in the high-tech world, where breakthrough technologies and rapid transformations change the rules of the game on the conventional markets, was the key topic of this year’s KIEF. World-renowned experts from various fields gave their insights and predictions about key changes that will influence the humankind in the coming years, and what countries and businesses need to do to use the challenges of the new era for the better. During the discussions, the issue of human capital was of top priority because innovation requires talents and developed ecosystems, not cheap labor and raw materials.
“Five years ago, when I was inviting foreign investors to Ukraine, I told them about cheap labor and smart people. But today these advantages do not work—technology is more important. There are two challenges facing the manufacturing—robotization and artificial intelligence. To effectively use these innovations and beat the competition, companies need talented professionals. Therefore, it is important to ensure all possible conditions for talents to stay in the country and create successful teams here,” comments the initiator of KIEF and founder of the UFuture Investment Group Vasyl Khmelnytsky.
Foreign investors also pointed out the rich human potential of our country. In particular, José Manuel Entrecanales, CEO of Acciona, which entered Ukraine with large investments in renewable energy this year, noted that “Ukraine has more talent that you would normally find at an emerging market.”
Vasyl Khmelnytsky brought into focus another aspect of the new era: “Today many large companies in Ukraine are introducing innovations. As a result, there will be job cuts. Therefore, the state needs to support small and medium businesses, as they can create millions of jobs and balance the situation in the labor market.”
KIEF also plays an important reputation role—it represents Ukraine to foreign business. The Forum helps Ukrainian and foreign entrepreneurs meet in person, find common language and interests, as well as agree on the development of joint projects. Like in previous years, KIEF was attended by numerous delegations of potential investors, this time from Italy, Spain, and others.
Participants of the panel discussions of KIEF 2018 paid much attention to the global competition and transformations businesses need to undergo in various areas in order to survive in modern conditions. During the Forum, industry specialists and entrepreneurs also searched for answers to current issues of the local economy. Among them were: creating innovation ecosystems to retain qualified personnel inside the country, search for resources to develop transport infrastructure, interaction of small, medium and large businesses, introduction of new technologies in the agricultural sector, etc.
Kyiv International Economic Forum (KIEF) is a permanent platform for the formation of Ukraine’s economic development strategy. It is aimed at organizing a dialogue between experts, business and government, adopting the best international experience, creating a roadmap for development and facilitating the conversion of ideas into real actions. www.forumkyiv.org.