It was a really uplifting session that showed that the Ukrainian business community is coping through all the hardship, that major businesses like Bayer are still investing in the country and that plans for the rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure and business assets following the end of the war are advancing, even while the war rages on.
We were honoured to present a senior panel to our guests. We had Anna Derevyanko, the CEO of Global Business for Ukraine and the European Business Association, Sergiy Tsivkach from UkraineInvest, Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, the CEO of NEQSOL in Ukraine (a major investor and owner of the country’s energy and telecoms infrastructure) and Andrey Zdesenko the founder of Biosphere (Ukraine’s leading household products group).
We had a really lively session where we learned both the cost of the war on Ukraine’s business community but also how businesses are coping, and the enormous potential for investment in the country. Amongst many other things we heard:
- How the cost of the war damage in Ukraine is now estimated to be more than $350bn
- That despite this and the slump in GDP, the vast majority of businesses are still operating and major businesses have invested an average of $100,000 each on buying their own generators to ensure they have power despite Russia’s attacks
- That leading businesses like Bayer are already investing in the country and plan to continue
- That the Zelensky government is proposing an ultra low tax rate after the war of only 10% and 10% VAT, to attract investment and boost activity
- That the international community will invest, but that international-backed insurance is a key prerequisite of this
- That the country is committed to a ‘second war’ on corruption and that the spirit of unity across the country will root out these issues
We heard that Biosphere for example has kept all its four major plants operating despite the regular air raids and alarms; that NEQSOL has successfully rebuilt thousands of phone masts across the country after each attack to ensure people remain connected.
The energy and positivity from the session contrasted sharply with a lot of the gloom which seems so prevalent in many of the Davos sessions this year and reminded all of us about the indomitable spirit in Ukraine that is fuelling the determination and sense of unity across the country.