The FINANCIAL -- The EBRD has reaffirmed its support for reforms in Ukraine during high-level events in London 5-6 July 2017, including two conferences and the first address by a Ukrainian prime minister to the EBRD’s Board of Directors.
On July 6, at the Ukraine Reform conference, organised by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, praised reform efforts so far and outlined the magnitude of challenges ahead.
The conference was attended by foreign ministers from a number of countries, including UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and all the key ministers from the Ukrainian government, according to EBRD.
The EBRD President said: “The foundations have now been laid for sustainable and robust economic growth. Both the banking and energy sectors have been largely reformed. The country is benefitting from macroeconomic stability at the same time as growth, while still too modest, has returned. The situation with public procurement bears no comparison with that previously.”
Describing the EBRD’s involvement, he said: “We are the largest single investor in the country. The cumulative figure currently stands at just under €12 billion. […] Within the last year we have opened new offices in Kharkiv and Odessa.”
The Bank was proud of its role in the creation of the Business Ombudsman Council and the Reform Support teams, he added.
He then stressed: “Ukraine needs to consolidate the rule of law and respect for property rights, indeed everything that advances the struggle against corruption,” and called for an overhaul of state-owned enterprises and banks, privatisations, and a land reform.
EBRD Director for Ukraine, Sevki Acuner, also moderated a panel at the conference on economic growth with a focus on state-owned enterprise reform and privatisation.
Ahead of the conference, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, addressed the EBRD Board of Directors on 5 July. He outlined recent reforms, discussed specific challenges and answered questions from representatives of shareholder governments.
Mr Groysman was the first sitting Ukrainian prime minister to have addressed the EBRD’s Board of Directors, which represents the Bank’s shareholders: 65 governments, the European Union and European Investment Bank. He also had a bilateral meeting with the EBRD President.
5 July also saw another Ukraine event, “Ukraine Transformation: Assessments and Solutions”, a conference organised by Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
During this conference, EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, Francis Malige, stressed the crucial importance of rule of law and justice reform in order to attract much-needed foreign investment.