Ukraine’s pro-business government has laid the groundwork for an uptick in foreign direct investment
Until recently, Ukraine was perceived in many quarters as something of a risky bet. But a concerted drive by the government to facilitate investment has seen a slew of foreign companies enter the country. “In our first year, we focused on helping businesses,” says Daniel Bilak, director of the government’s investment promotion agency, UkraineInvest, which was set up in 2016. “We managed to unlock over $700 million of investment from existing investors. We are now shepherding many of them through new investments. In the last six months, there have been a number of global companies making investments of between €500 million and €1 billion who are considering Ukraine along with Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.”
A focus on transparency and the rule of law has enabled projects to be green-lighted by shareholders, and the country’s enormous potential is slowly beginning to open up. “Ukraine is rich in new opportunities,” said Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, pointing to the automobile components, agricultural and energy sectors as low-hanging fruit.
Further up the value chain, a burgeoning IT sector has gone beyond simply outsourcing with the country now boasting the largest IT engineering force in the CEE. “Snapchat had a big development branch in Ukraine. Construction bureau Antonov is known for the world’s biggest Mriya aircraft,” said Prime Minister Groysman. “This is the new Ukraine.”