Ukraine 13th July Investment Conference – USAJune 13, 2015
For those who are unaware – which is almost everybody – there is to be an investment conference relating to opportunities within Ukraine – to privatisation, energy, etc., not to mention the promulgation and reiteration of just how far financial reforms have gone, and have yet to go, in order to boost confidence for those investors attending – on 13th July in the USA.
The amount of the information from the International Support for Ukraine Conference of April 2015 that can be reused is probably rather limited. A different audience entirely.
Thus detailed and fevered preparation is on-going within the relevant Ukrainian ministries to collate information and generate terribly interesting and attractive opportunities to tempt the US corporate (and perhaps affluent entrepreneurial and philanthropic) community – or not.
Though risk aversion is the current en vogue meme within the “West” politically and economically, that is perhaps not so within the world of big business. Opportunity is opportunity when all is said and done, and US Embassy Kyiv would be rather pleased to see US interests – outside of the geopolitical – arrive and flourish whilst it holds significant sway with the current Government of Ukraine.
There will be far fewer hurdles to negotiate now than ever before for any US entrant/investor considering the current government composition and considerable US diplomatic effort (and corresponding influence) in Kyiv.
It is logical therefore to have an easily accessible, short investors conference in the US for CEOs and politicians who are otherwise far too busy to fly off to Kyiv to attend what may be a hit or miss event from their perspective. A few hours can perhaps be found to attend. A few days, probably not.
Yet investment and partnership deals there are aplenty. Whether it be Motor Sich and South Africa’s Paramount Group signing contracts to develop the Superhind Mi 24 helicopter, or Dutch companies owning and operating industrial parks in Ukraine, opportunity there certainly is. China continues with its $10 billion investment plan undaunted.
Opportunity presents itself particularly so when there is a Ukrainian government looking for genuinely foreign investment, rather than recycled and laundered money buying up assets through the facade of Latvian, UK or Cypriot front companies and also seeking to avoid Russian strategic purchases.
A nation as large and with such a well educated populous does not rebuff its internal oligarchical interests and throw itself prostrate before the alter of large foreign corporation investment every day. Neither is such a nation often as dependent upon the goodwill of the Europeans and US either. The Donbas aside, a more accommodating Ukraine there has never been for foreign corporate/business entry.
Indeed, if it hadn’t been for Kremlin interference within Ukraine by force, the desire and need for genuine foreign investment would possibly have been far more muted, and certainly held hostage oligarchical control to a far greater degree. It is now though, a case of needs must. And when needs must, those that can meet those needs negotiate from a position of strength – as every large corporation/investor knows.
What many in Ukraine will find most interesting in the short term however, is which State owned/controlled entities will be on the list for privatisation submitted for the US audience consumption? A cherry-picked list? A full list (if it has been completed)? A list designed to lead US corporations/investors down a certain sectoral path?
Will there be a similar conference for the Europeans? (It is to be hoped so with the DCFTA coming into force in less than 6 months.)
What about the Asians?
Should separate conferences for China and India to be held in those nations, thus giving the perception they are held in equal potential investment esteem?
If so, when?
The bigger the foreign corporation/investor, the more they have access to, and the ear of, their national governments. Thus the more diverse the significant foreign investment interests, the more relevant Ukraine remains in more far flung corridors of power.
The attraction toward US corporations and investors is fair enough, and the reasons why clear enough – indeed it is right to pursue it with vigor – but diversity of investment source is the key to confronting internal oligarchical and Russian strategic purchases by diluting concentrations of power – it reclaims economic sovereignty in the long term whilst simultaneously throwing open Ukraine for global business.