KYIV, Ukraine, Oct. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A sense of optimism about the attractiveness of the Ukrainian market was the prevailing sentiment among international business leaders following the first day of the Kyiv International Economic Forum.
The forum, taking place over the 18th and 19th October, is the leading international platform analyzing and debating Ukrainian and global economic, business trends and opportunities, and their relationship with wider societal and policy matters. This 5th edition of the Kyiv International Economic Forum gathered more than 2,000 participants from around the globe.
Volodymyr Groysman, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, opened the forum, noting how Ukraine had improved across a number of metrics and on various international indexes, including the WEF Competitiveness Index and the World Bank's Ease of doing Business.
Also speaking at the forums plenary session were Jose Manuel Entrecanales, Chairman and CEO of ACCIONA, Nicolas Brusson, Co-Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar; Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President, General Electric Company and President & CEO, GE Global; and Vasyl Khmelnytsky, Founder of UFuture Investment Group and of the Kyiv International Economic Forum.
Panellists discussed the opportunity within Ukraine, focusing on the remarkable turnaround carried out by the country since 2015. The consensus amongst panellists was positive, with the strength of the Ukrainian work force being cited as the main driver of the countries success. Entrecanales stated that compared to other emerging markets, Ukraine has notably more domestic talent. A consensus emerged that a well-educated labour force was nowadays more important for innovation that low labour cost.
The need for increased foreign investment was also cited as an important priority, with Khmelnytsky noting that international investors are often looking for domestic partners, and therefore increased Ukrainian investment should also be encouraged. This followed a direct request from Khmelnytsky to the Prime Minister to step up support for Ukrainian SMEs.
Despite the sense of optimism, panellists remained realistic that sizable challenges remain for Ukraine. This includes potential political uncertainty brought about by the upcoming Presidential Election, as well as the rule of law. Despite Ukraine being the fastest growing market in the world for BlaBlaCar, Brusson noted that when it comes to funding, Ukraine is not on the map for VCs, who opt for other European capitals instead. In this respect more needs to be done to communicate to foreign audiences Ukraine's enormous investment potential.