Attracting investment in Ukraine in the focus of Level UP Ukraine 2020
On 21 February Kyiv hosted Level UP Ukraine 2020, which is a forum of interaction between business, government and society aimed at ensuring a transformation of the Ukrainian economy and its transition to an innovative platform. The Forum has been bringing together representatives of Ukrainian authorities and international organizations, business owners, foreign investors, and economic experts to develop solutions that transform the institutional environment and promote accelerating economic growth since 2016.
During the Forum, the participants of a press conference “Waiting for investments: which sectors of the Ukrainian economy are the most attractive for investment?” gave their assessments of Ukraine's investment attractiveness and the possibility of increasing investment flows to the national economy.
According to Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, the last Davos forum has shown the presence of increased interest in Ukraine among foreign business. The goal of the State Property Fund is to create an investment product and conduct transparent competitive privatization, which will attract strategic investors who would like to invest in the modernization of enterprises. According to Dmytro Sennychenko, from 300 to 500 state-owned enterprises will be put up for privatization in 2020, as well as 5 large facilities included in the list of "big privatization". The State Property Fund has developed an investment menu that offers for investors with various financial capabilities.
Mr. Sennychenko emphasized that state-owned enterprises are often sources of corruption, which are generated by financial and political groups that have access to the control lever of the respective enterprises. Privatization has to break this vicious circle and ensure the efficient functioning of enterprises in the interests of the state and society. At the same time, Mr. Sennychenko emphasized that the State Property Fund is actively communicating with law enforcement agencies, blocking corruption schemes. He cited an example of a recent special operation by NABU to detain individuals offering him a bribe of USD 5 million for personnel shifts at the top management of the OPP.
Jason Pellmar, head of the IFC regional office in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, member of the World Bank Group, during a press conference stressed that the IFC has implemented projects in Ukraine for USD 3 billion since the beginning of the 2000s. As of today, the IFC is exploring the possibility of participation in concession infrastructure projects – at regional airports, roads, seaports. Mr. Pellmar gave a positive assessment to the transfer of the seaports of Kherson and Olvia to foreign investors in a concession and said that this experience should be scaled to other sectors of the economy.
David Bezhuashvili, owner of the Georgian Industrial Group, which won the concession tender for the port of Kherson, noted that the tender was held as transparent as possible, and the Ukrainian authorities provided comprehensive support to its participants.
Natalya Ulyanova, the author of Level UP Ukraine, the founder and managing partner of UNA Partners, Vice-President of the Association of Taxpayers of Ukraine, agreed with this thesis. Based on her successful experience, supporting the first concession tender, she has noted the importance of such mechanisms for the Ukrainian economy and the need to expand this practice. In addition, she noted that Level UP Ukraine, as a platform for communication and cooperation between business, government and society, is ready to become a platform where concepts of such projects will be developed.
Grigol Katamadze, co-organizer of Level UP Ukraine and President of the Association of Taxpayers of Ukraine, noted that this organization has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the European Economic Senate, according to which consulting assistance will be provided to Ukrainian business, including in adapting the last to the requirements of the laws of the European Union. He also emphasized the importance of strengthening the protection of property rights, without which there is no reason to count on a massive return on investment.
Level UP Ukraine 2020 brought together over 600 participants and 30 speakers from around the world and became the most ambitious event over the years of its holding.