Acceleration of investments for the reconstruction of Ukraine
After successful conferences on the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine in cities such as Paris, Lugano and Berlin over the past six months, Luxembourg’s own business forum and his the castle On January 31, it was dedicated to this topic.
Although Luxembourg allocates 15% of its Defense budget to support Ukraine and allocates nearly 100 million euros in financial aid to the country, the Ukraine-Luxembourg Business Club (ULBC) conference is sure to boost public and private support.
Evgenia Paliy told Delanoya that the conference panels will touch on several main topics: the rule of law, democratic reforms, social policy, infrastructure, education, technology, agriculture and sports, culture. He is the first to admit that “it is ambitious. There are many topics, but as soon as one is touched, it covers another. Take roads for example. They are needed for infrastructure [mais aussi] farming, [sinon] you cannot bind it to the world.’
Several similar conferences have been successful over the past six months. Last July, in Lugano, Switzerland, Ukraine announced its reconstruction and recovery plan. At the same time, the European Investment Bank (EIB), one of ULBC’s partners, proposed the creation of a new EU-Ukraine fund for the next conference to be held in Luxembourg. Recently, at a conference held in Paris in December, the participating countries pledged to provide one billion euros in aid.
Again, if we take agriculture as an example, after the end of the war, large investments will be needed, but not only. “We have big players in agriculture, but also small businesses that need loans and rent tractors and equipment. There are opportunities for such investments.”
Addressing Transparency and Risk Issues
Evgeniya Paliy believes that Luxembourg has great potential to contribute to Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts: not only is the government sympathetic to the cause, but the country is a financial center with the headquarters of a number of European institutions. Luxembourg companies with close business relations with Ukraine, such as ArcelorMittal and Paul Wurth, who will take an active part in the conference on January 31, also have experience.
In addition to its support, this event is organized so that Ukrainian and Luxembourgish companies and public actors can learn from each other. A number of senior Ukrainian ministers and business leaders – from the infrastructure and energy sectors to banking, technology, anti-corruption groups and more. – will be participate.
The president of ULBC explains: “We want to show what investors’ fears are, why they don’t want to invest, why they are afraid to invest in Ukraine. What are the common issues for all investors, whether it’s a small business, a family office, or someone looking to rebuild a school or hospital…”
Among the topics he expects are “corruption, the rule of law, whether investments are transparent and whether they directly finance the project, the investment climate in the country: if it has changed, if it is certain.” [aussi] physically after the war, because there will be weapons.”
Representatives from Ukraine will be there to explain how they support investors internally, how risks are managed. Yevheniya Paliy also said that “judicial system reforms are necessary” and, in her opinion, should be done before “the victory of Ukraine”, not after. The ULBC looks forward to discussions on Luxembourg’s leading role in shaping the European response, not only in terms of funding, but also in terms of reform elements.
But companies will also play an important role by sharing their experiences. For example, ArcelorMittal has a steel plant in Kryvyi Rohda (Central Ukraine), which in March 2022 decided to stop working there. Meanwhile, the plant was running at about 20% capacity. However, Russia’s missile attacks on the area in November and electricity restrictions caused production to stop. Nevertheless, it is still present in the country, although its staff has been reduced, partly due to the departure of workers to the war.
The event also aims to develop a number of prototype tools. On the second day of the conference, technical workshops will be held with invited participants on investment structures and product design, as well as consistency and coordination with formal sector financing.
EIF, EIB, White & Case and Integrites will cover the financial side of the discussion. Another sponsor, Clearstream, “issues bonds in Ukraine and works with them in financial markets, thinking about prototypes, different financing opportunities and how to make safe investments in Ukraine,” says Evgenia Paliy. “These prototypes should be discussed, then what can be done, what type of fund to invest in, how to ensure the insurance of these investments.”
Castle to support the foundation of the first lady of Ukraine
Even before the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, ULBC was building bilateral relations, which, according to Yevgeniya Paliy, paid off and business should continue at an even deeper level after the forum. He believes that Luxembourg is the main country that can help in establishing such frameworks, which can be implemented quickly after the “green light” and “Victory of Ukraine”.
In addition to helping Ukrainian refugees improve their skills or find work in the Grand Duchy, ULBC is proud to have several Ukrainian postdoctoral researchers receive scholarships or support to study in Luxembourg.
“We need cooperation between European universities and Ukrainians in this field, so that after graduation, employees will have real experience not only in the field of technology (for example), but also in the field of rule of law, reforms, infrastructure. Fight against corruption, all this for tomorrow’s Ukraine. “And Luxembourg provides real support in the field of education.”
Education is also a key focus of the Olena Zelenska Foundation, which works to rebuild Ukraine’s human capital, while also working in the area of health and other humanitarian needs. Although the conference on January 31 will be dedicated to discussions and working groups, the evening’s gala dinner is 100% charitable.
“It’s important for businesses to know that they can get a taxable refund; they can do it through the ArcelorMittal Foundation”, adds Evgeniya Paliy. However, considering that Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, “travels a lot, works a lot, we see this as an opportunity to support in the most transparent way.”
For more information or to register for the Ukraine Early Recovery Conference or Gala, please contact us ulbc.com or send to email address [email protected]
This article was written by Delano In English, translated and edited into French by Paperjam.