Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, and the sides discussed prospects of negotiations on Donbas and Swedish investment in the Ukrainian economy.
The press service of the president of Ukraine reported on the president’s website on Wednesday, Zelensky thanked the prime minister for comprehensive support of Kyiv, in particular, the support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The parties discussed the prospects of the negotiations on Donbas.
“We are not ready to wait five more years for the negotiations in Minsk to yield results,” Zelensky said.
The head of state also noted the importance of Sweden as a partner for Ukraine, in particular in the trade sphere.
Zelensky urged Löfven to facilitate the increase of Swedish investments in Ukraine’s economy, including the spheres of energy efficiency and recycling.
The share of IT industry of the Ukrainian economy is 4% of GDP, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv has said.
“Today, the IT sector is 4% of GDP, 150,000 employees with high wages, who form the middle class. In a year and a half they will already be 200,000,” he said at a government meeting on Wednesday.
Kubiv also said that the government intends to support investments in innovations in such areas as the agricultural and industrial complex, the IT industry, aircraft manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure and other sectors.
“Together with the National Bank, we must form the best prerequisites for creating financial projects that will create new high-paying jobs,” Kubiv said.
The members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine expect the continuation of growth of the Ukrainian economy and the increase of profits in 2019 despite the elections, the co-founder and executive director of Horizon Capital, Lenna Koszarny, has said at a press conference of the organizing committee of Ukraine House Davos.
“We asked the members of our chamber, investors who invested huge money in Ukraine, what they expect in 2019. Some 74% answered growth and profits. That is, they will continue to invest, and these are the investors who understand what is happening in the country, that there will be elections,” she said.
She also noted about raising $200 million to the Horizon Capital investment fund – Emerging Europe Growth Fund III, L.P.
“This is a signal for the market that investors are interested in Ukraine. The investors who entered the fund are $350 billion of total capital,” she said.
Alexa Chopivsky, the Executive Director of Ukraine House Davos, also noted the success of the campaign at the economic forum in Davos.
“Three main conclusions can be drawn from our experience in Davos. First, Ukraine House Davos has created a powerful investment brand. Second, we have opened a window for foreigners and sponsors. Third, we have shown a positive image of Ukraine as a country of creativity, innovations and great opportunities,” the expert said.
First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Jurgen Rigterink believes that Ukraine is an important area of investment for the EBRD and a powerful platform for the implementation of major projects. “I’ve been EBRD first vice president for just nine weeks, and the fact that I am currently on a visit to Ukraine speaks about the importance of your country in our project portfolio. For us, Ukraine is not only an investment area, but also an important platform for cooperation in a number of projects that we are implementing jointly with other international partners,” Rigterink said at a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Kyiv on Thursday.
Groysman, in turn, noted that cooperation between Ukraine and the EBRD has the potential for growth.
“The bank is one of the largest investors in the Ukrainian economy, and now we are talking about strengthening cooperation and increasing its effectiveness,” he said.
Rigterink also recalled that the EBRD is now processing a five-year work plan in Ukraine, which includes, among other things, increased funding and in-depth cooperation in specific areas – primarily the work of government banks and the development of the energy sector.
According to Groysman, the Ukrainian government is interested in further cooperation with the EBRD on modernization of the gas transit system, as well as in raising funds to increase natural gas production and develop green energy.
“We are now at the point where the economy will grow and investments will increase. I feel it and I see it. This is the scenario I’m programmed to. The situation as a whole is getting stabilized, and this is a very good signal. Even despite the fact that we are entering the electoral period, the government is ready to ensure a forward movement,” he said.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has left unchanged its forecast for Ukrainian economy growth in 2018 at 3% and expects that the same pace would be retained in 2019, the bank has said in a survey on its website. The bank said that large foreign exchange debt repayments by the public sector falling due in 2018-20 and the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections cycle in 2019 represent important risks to the growth outlook.
Continuation of the IMF (the International Monetary Fund) programme is uncertain due to the lacking commitment on the part of the authorities to meet key reform requirements, the bank said.
The EBRD said that the growth of Ukrainian economy remains subdued.
As reported, the World Bank remained unchanged its forecast for Ukraine’s GDP growth in 2018-2019 at 3.5% and 4% respectively.
However, the bank said that if reforms are delayed, growth could drop below current levels in an uncertain macroeconomic environment as financing risks rapidly increase and GDP growth could slow to 2%.
The IMF retained its forecast for Ukraine’s GDP growth in 2018 at 3.2%, while it reviewed downwards the forecast for 2019 to 3.3% from 4%.
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) predicts that Ukraine’s GDP would accelerate in 2018 to 3.4% from 2.5% in 2017 and slow to 2.9% in 2019-2020.