H&M to open stores in Ukraine in 2018

Swedish clothing brand H&M will open its first store in Ukraine in 2018. The information appeared in the company’s six-month report for 2017.

“New H&M store markets planned for 2018 are Uruguay and Ukraine,” the document read.

H&M has been one of the most anticipated international brands in Ukraine, along with Ikea. Rumours of its entrance have been circulating for many years, but this is the first-ever official confirmation of such plans.

This spring H&M entered the markets of Kazakhstan and Colombia, and the brand has been a success there, according to the report. New openings are planned in Iceland, Vietnam, and Georgia.

The company also reported 9 percent growth in sales to over $13.3 billion during the first six months of 2017.

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) is now present in 69 countries and is the second largest retailer in the world after Spanish Inditex Group. It includes H&M, COS, & Other Stories, Monki, Weekday, and Cheap Monday as well as H&M Home.

Another anticipated Swedish brand, homeware manufacturer Ikea, also has set its eye on Ukraine.

In early June the representative of the company told the Kyiv Post that Ukraine was “one of the markets that Ikea is exploring for expansion opportunities.”

Source: kyivpost.com

Ukraine extends aircraft maintenance and overhaul offer

More recently, the aviation industry has indicated signs of recovery with considerable growing demand forecast over the next decade in regions such as the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. In these regions, to operate a large number of aircraft produced in Ukraine and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Now Ukraine expands aircraft maintenance and repair offering in anticipation of probable contracts.

Commercial and military aircraft maintenance and repair is an essential requirement to safely transport passengers, troops or cargo. In Ukraine, the major role in the aircraft maintenance and repair plays the state enterprise «PLANT 410 of Civil Aviation» (SE PLANT 410 CA).

The SE PLANT 410 CA, which is a part of Ukrainian defence industry concern UkrOboronProm, is one of the leading enterprises of aviation cluster of Ukraine, specializing in heavy airframe maintenance and modification services and component maintenance, repair, and overhaul services for commercial and regional aircraft.

SE PLANT 410. Photo by Dylan Malyasov

The SE PLANT 410 CA as of today, executed overhaul more than six thousand aircraft and forty thousand the aviation engines. The enterprise occupies an area of over 236,000 square meters adjacent to the Kyiv International Airport (Zhuliany). Production area is equipped with all the necessary technological tools, tooling and equipment and makes up for more than 170,000 square meters, where overhaul.

The SE PLANT 410 CA represents the powerful aircraft-repair enterprise, that can carries out a full work cycle of overhaul of aircraft An-24,-26,-30,-32 and aviation engines D-36 of a series 1, 1А, 2А, for aircraft Yak-42, An-72,-74, repair of units of aviation technique, and also the works connected with restoration of aviation details.

SE PLANT 410. Photo by Dylan Malyasov

On performance of works on overhaul, modernization, re-equipment and maintenance service of aircraft such as “Antonov”, the plant has certificates of interstate aviation committee, Ukrainian national aviation authorities, the certificate of conformity of the Russian aviation authorities. The system of quality of the plant is certificated under the international standards of series ISO, and also airspace complex AS / EN. Taking into account, that works on repair of military planes performed, the factory has the certificate of the standard of the NATO – AQAP 2120, and also the license of the Ministry of industrial policy for repairing of military aviation technique.

SE PLANT 410. Photo by Dylan Malyasov

One of the directions of development is the realization of the program maintenance and repair of Soviet-made helicopters. The enterprise conducts restore after overhaul, re-motorization, and modernization of Mil Mi-8 medium twin-turbine helicopters, for use in a national economy and Ukrainian Defence Forces. Realization of the project carried out together with joint-stock company “Motor Sich”.

The SE PLANT 410 CA has also successfully completed MI-8MSB helicopter overhaul and upgrade having fitted it with a Motor-Sich-made advanced TV3-117VMA-SBM1 engine, avionics, Air Ambulance Technology-made intensive care units. The retrofit helicopter was handed over to the Customer on 11.08.2016.

Currently, other three Mi-8T helicopters are undergoing overhaul and upgrade.

SE PLANT 410 CA0

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard and Border Guard also act as clients of the SE PLANT 410 CA enterprise. In 2016 enterprise specialists repaired 6 aircraft, according to aircraft equipment overhaul and modernization schedule, that was reported by UkrOboronProm.

During repair each vehicle was completely dismantled and all components and devices were repaired/replaced by new ones. In addition, these aircraft also have new modern digital navigation and communication systems.

The SE Plant 410 CA is a leading enterprise in Ukraine, providing overhaul of D-36 engines, installed on military transport aircraft An-72, in service with the National Guard of Ukraine and Border Guard. In addition, the same engines are installed on An-74 and Yak-42 aircraft, operated in many countries.

SE PLANT 410 CA Photo by Dylan Malyasov

The collective of a factory makes huge efforts on preparation for certification on norms and rules of the European organization on safety in aircraft EASA (PART-145, PART-147, PART-66, PART-M). It will allow to diversify the work not only on technique such as Antonov, but also to carry out maintenance service of planes of foreign manufacture. The enterprise already has such customers. For today maintenance service more than 15 airliners Boeing-737 is carried out. On the areas of a factory planes MD-80,-82,-83 are served. Also, plant fruitfully works with business aircraft.

SE PLANT 410 CA Photo by Dylan Malyasov

This and the active efforts of the foreign economic activity of the plant, the enterprise consistently receives new orders for aircraft repair and modernization not only from domestic customers, but also firmly entrenched in the international market, which provides foreign exchange earnings to the state. The main foreign clients of the SE PLANT 410 CA is the Republic of India, Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Hungary and other countries. Over the past two years, exports to foreign countries increased by 2 times, from UAH 168.4 million UAH in 2014 up to 345.3 million UAH in 2016.

Source: defence-blog.com

IKEA plans expansion to Ukraine

The Swedish furniture and home goods chain IKEA plans to expand to the Ukrainian market, the head of PrJSC Mandarin Plaza’s board Oleksandr Chernytsky said.

According to him, IKEA may rent one of the country’s largest sales and amusement centers, Yuzhny, with an area of 450,000 square meters.

Construction of the facility is planned to begin at the end of 2017 at 9 Hlushkova Street in Kyiv’s Holosiyivsky district.

“IKEA is also looking in our direction. Their representatives have already voiced their plans: they came here for this reason, we met. The chances they will come here are good,” Chernytsky said, adding that renters of space at the trade center will include other well-known international operators, “whom Ukraine has long been waiting for,” he said.

Businessman Vahif Aliev, according to Chernytsky, has purchased rights to a land plot with the Liodovy [Ice Skating Rink] Stadium at 9 Hlushkova Street in Holosiyivsky district for construction of Ukraine’s largest shopping mall and sports complex.

The Liodovy Stadium, which was Ukraine’s first outdoor sports complex with skating tracks, was built in 1975.

Aliev is an investor and owner in a number of Kyiv shopping malls, such as Lavina Mall, Blockbuster Mall and Ocean Mall.

PrJSC Mandarin Plaza was created in 2000. It develops, builds and manages shopping and office complexes.

According to the national state register, the sole stakeholder of the enterprise is limited stock company Stadis AB (100 percent Malmo, Sweden). Aliev is listed as the ultimate beneficiary.

Mandarin Plaza’s charter capital as of May 29, was Hr 21.7 million.

Source: kyivpost.com

Rada passes bill in support of foreign investment in Ukraine

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has cancelled the registration of foreign investment and simplified the procedure for issuing permission to employ foreigners, as well as the procedure for issuing temporary residence permits.

Some 239 deputies voted in favor of the draft law in its second reading on Tuesday.

The bill cancels registration of foreign investment, replacing it with formal notification for state statistics purposes.

It also spells out the basic aspects of applying for permission to hire foreigners and persons without Ukrainian citizenship. The changes are expected to simplify procedures for attracting foreign managers and qualified foreign workers, who are necessary during the first stages of setting up subsidiary operations in Ukraine.

In addition, the adopted bill changes procedures for issuing temporary residence permits, giving foreigner investors the right to reside in Ukraine, as well as foreigners working at (and not necessarily for) Ukrainian enterprises. Deputies expect the new law will make it easier to reside in Ukraine while monitoring enterprise activities.

According to Samopomich Party faction deputy Serhiy Kiral, the legislation applies specifically to four categories of highly-paid IT specialists – graduates of the world’s top 110 universities, as well as artists. According to Kiral, there are currently 9,000 such [foreign] employees in Ukraine today.

Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction deputy Viktor Pynzenyk said the current law obliges foreign employees to receive work permits each year.

‘The [new] law provides permission for three years, and ensures that low-qualified workers are not hired. The law also establishes minimum salary requirements,” he said.

Pynzenyk said the new law would not revolutionize the country’s investment climate, but should be viewed as a small step on the path to creating a more favorable climate for foreign investment in Ukraine.

Source: en.interfax.com.ua

Four worthy tech companies from Ukraine and how they did It

This month online service Grammarly has raised 110 million dollars. It is the biggest record level of investment for the Ukrainian company and a sign that Ukrainian projects continue to conquer the global tech world. According to the recent report “Ukraine Dealbook,“ the total venture investments in Ukrainian startups increased 237% year-over-year from 2014-2015, after having declined 56% between 2013-2014.

Besides Grammarly, Ukraine is also a homeland for other well-known projects that now boost the image of the country. Among them DepositPhotos, Looksery, MacPaw, Paymentwall, Readdle, InvisibleCRM, iBlazr and many others. 

Grammarly is a web-based service that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to scan the text for errors within a matter of seconds. «Built by linguists and language lovers» the service helps to improve the quality of the writing, starting from eliminating most common grammar and spelling mistakes and ending with much more complex check-up such as enhancing the tone of the written text and its effectiveness in the context of specific communication. According to company representatives, only in April of this year, Grammarly offered more than 14 billion improvements to users. And it is constantly evolving. In future, the service should be able even to determine if a particular joke is appropriate in a particular letter.

Grammarly was created in 2009 by Kyiv natives Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko. At that point, the service was developed only for academic purposes, but later its co-founders changed their minds and decided to make it useful to anyone on the Internet who aims to make their writing flawless.
Two years ago Grammarly switched to a freemium model, since then its business is growing rapidly. Today the audience Grammarly’s reaches active 6,9 million users per day, and its application was downloaded more than 10 million times from the Chrome Web Store. Now Grammarly intends to use 110 million to accelerate its growth even more.

Despite the fact that the Headquarters of the Grammarly is now based San Francisco, most of its developers still work in Ukraine’s capital. Two years ago the co-founder of the project said in a comment to the Kyivpost that they have managed to develop such a service because they “started in Ukraine and found talented specialists” there.

Depositphotos is a Ukrainian company aimed to make a revolution in the global photobank industry. This online service works as an intermediary platform between sellers and buyers with a stock library of more than 60 million high-quality photos, videos, and vector images.
In 2009 a well-known entrepreneur Dmitry Sergeev sold his project DepositFiles and almost immediately founded a new company Depositphotos. In the beginning, it was a tiny project with two employees working in a small rented office area of 20 sqm. Today DepositFiles is one of the top-5 content platforms in the world with more than 47 million unique files and customers from 192 countries.

Several times Depositphotos was supported by investors. In 2011 it received 3 million dollars from the venture capital company TMT Investments. This round also brought the company another 4 million dollars from EBRD, that was a first investment of the international financial institution in the Ukraine’s IT sector. In 2016 TMT Investments sold a 7,1% stake in Depositphotos for 5,85 million dollars, that implies that the overall valuation of the Ukrainian company last year was approximately 82 million dollars.

Now Depositphotos calls itself a competitor of such giants of the industry as Shutterstock and Getty Images and Virgin Media, Macy’s, Job News USA, Yandex, TemplateMonster and United Printing among its clients.

Depositphotos is headquartered in New York, but its employees work all over the world. The development team and the largest number of specialists of the project are located in Kyiv. Once its founder Dmitry Sergeev told Kyivpost «Our heart is in Ukraine because it’s awesome here and there are so many talented people». Later he matched his words with action when he decided not to leave Ukraine after the proposal from Canada to move his business there.

Petcube is also successful start-up from Ukraine; it creates gadgets and mobile applications for pet owners. The first products of the technology company are an interactive camera Petcube Camera and mobile apps for iOS and Android. These products have brought pets and their owners closer with the help of built-in laser pointer and real-time video. Petcube allows pet owners to watch their pets, play with their pets remotely and even let their friends play with them.

The Petcube’s story started in 2013 with a small team of three people. That year Petcube got the largest amount of money ever collected by a Ukrainian startup at Kickstarter – 251 thousand dollars. This sum was 2,5 times higher than the initially planned 100 thousand dollars, which the startup managed to collect only in a week.

According to the Petcube’s co-founder and CEO Yaroslav Azhnyuk, the team achieved a lot just in a few years. «We have created a new category in the market – interactive camera for pets. Our sales have increased 5,5 times in 2016 – growth rates are not seen by Fitbit or GoPro in their first year», – he wrote in the post on his Facebook page.

Also, Petcube has already managed to attract 4 million USD of investments and get into the program of one of the world’s most powerful start-up incubator Y Combinator.
The Petcube sells their products in more than 2,500 stores in the US and Canada, and the company is entering the markets of Japan, Australia, and the European Union. Now Petcube is headquartered in San Francisco, California with offices in China and of course in Ukraine.

One of the most successful Ukrainian IT startups, MacPaw, was founded in 2008 by 27-old Kyiv native Оlexander Kosovan. The company develops software to improve the productivity of Apple’s computers. MacPaw’s app CleanMyMac takes first place in the list of best-selling applications for cleaning up MacBooks.
According to Kosovan, MacPaw wasn’t aimed to become a real business. It started with a team of three people and 3000 dollars of savings and inspiration in the «simplicity and beauty of Apple’s products».

Today MacPaw can justly be called the leader in its niche. Ukrainian developer offers ten products that are commanded by American and European experts. Its software products are used by millions of people in the U.S., Western Europe, and Asia, Apple recognizes it, and the biggest social network Facebook is among the clients of MacPaw.

Kosovan created and developed his project without any help from investors. Moreover, he launched his fund SMRK to support IT-startups. For example, in 2015 the fund invested 1 million dollars in the development of startup Ajax Systems.

MacPaw is registered in the U.S., but the central office with more than 80 employees, most of whom are Ukrainians, is based in Kyiv. It does not matter where the employee comes from, writes MacPaw’s founder in his article for Ukrainian media ain.ua, the most important criteria, are professionalism and ability to think outside the box.

UKRAINE – NEW TECHNOLOGY HUB?

Notably, that even after developing into world-known businesses Ukrainian startups don’t leave the country. Also, Ukrainian research and development centers are often the key innovators for many global companies such as Samsung, Boeing, Ericsson, ABBYY, UpWork, Siemens, Oracle, Wargaming, NetCracker, Ericsson, Huawei and many others. According to the IT Ukraine industry report that covers Ukrainian IT outsourcing and software R&D capacity, there are more than 100 R&D-centers of tech companies in Ukraine representing different sectors from telecom to e-commerce, from software to gaming.

Despite the conflict with Russia and political turbulence, Ukraine is already a thriving technology center with a #3 share of IT-services in its exports – about $2,5 – 3 billion yearly. Software R&D sector and IT service grow every year by double-digit figures. But what is the explanation of the popularity of Ukraine?

According to the freelance site Upwork (former Elance), Ukraine is the third best spot in the world to find specialists with advanced skills capable of undertaking complex projects. Ukraine, one of the best-educated countries in Europe, graduates about 15 thousand of IT professionals per year, says recent IT Ukraine industry report, released by Ukraine Digital News and AVentures Capital. For now, Ukraine has the highest number of IT specialists in Central Europe and the number of IT-companies in the country exceeds 1 000. Also, about 30 000 of Ukrainian IT professionals have international Brainbench Certificates that makes Ukraine the third country in the Top-50 countries with the largest number of certified IT-specialists.

Another advantage of Ukraine for businesses is the ability to utilize resources more efficiently. The average wage rate of the US-based developers is 50-250 dollars per hour comparing 30-100 dollars that charge developers from Eastern Europe. Moreover, these affordable prices are combined with a high-quality service.

The ease of communication can also be mentioned among the benefits of conducting research and development activities in Ukrainian cities as all of Ukrainian developers and PMs, have intermediate and higher level of English. Ukrainian IT-workers also demonstrate serious business approach and ensure smooth business operations, including punctuality, transparent project management, and fundamental task performance.

CAN UKRAINE BECOME THE NEXT SILICON VALLEY? 

It is hard to tell. But this question has already been asked by Dailymail. Meanwhile, Forbes characterizes Ukraine as a new Tech Mecca, underlining the country’s base of talent and technology infrastructure and Huffingtonpost warns not to undervalue Ukraine’s technological advances and its impact on the global tech scene. Can they be right? You shouldn’t bet against it.

Source: edgica.com

Ukraine’s IT boom could speed up EU integration

Ukraine has a literacy rate of 99.7 percent, which is higher than most EU states

June 2017 will mark the three-year anniversary of the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, and while the Eastern European state has taken major steps towards European integration, its progress has been slow.

With the signing of the EU agreement in 2014, it seemed as if Ukraine’s dream of Western integration would finally become a reality. This feeling materialised in 2015 as Ukraine took significant steps in its fight against corruption.

Last year, however, presented new challenges.

The failure to remove various corrupt government officials undermined progress. Furthermore, as anti-corruption efforts stalled, Odesa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, among others, resigned in frustration.

Events within the EU further stymied Ukraine’s progress towards European integration.

In April 2016, the Dutch overwhelmingly rejected closer EU ties with Ukraine. Matters became worse in June when the United Kingdom, one of Ukraine’s staunchest advocates in the EU, voted to leave the bloc.

Implementation of the agreement allowing visa-free travel to the EU has also been delayed. Given these developments, Ukrainian enthusiasm for Europe is slowly waning as many Ukrainians believe the EU may not deliver on its promises.

Critics of Ukraine argue that it is far from ready to join the EU, citing corruption as its major hurdle.

Furthermore, some EU members are concerned that Ukraine’s economy would be a drain on European resources.

This comes at a time when the EU faces the loss of the UK, one of its biggest financial contributors. Some critics argue that it will take at least 20-25 years for Ukraine to be admitted into the organization.

Ukraine continues to face these problems in 2017. It was ranked 131st in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index, and the war in Donbas has escalated.

New case

While Ukraine’s future may seem bleak, the eastern European state has a new case to present to the EU.

Its educated populace and the IT sector may accelerate the membership process and boost national morale during this difficult period in its history.

Ukraine has a literacy rate of 99.7 percent, which is higher than most EU states. This statistic demonstrates that it can be a vital member of the international community.

The well-educated populace has also led to a booming IT sector, with venture investments in Ukrainian start-ups jumping 237 percent from 2014-2015.

There are currently over 100,000 skilled IT professionals in Ukraine, and the training and knowledge of Ukrainian software developers are on par with those of Silicon Valley. The IT sector accounted for 3 percent of Ukraine’s annual GDP, and has generated billions of dollars in exports.

The work of these Ukrainian developers has not gone unnoticed. Corporations such as Snapchat and Uber have performed well in Ukraine.

Moreover, GitLab co-founder Dmitriy Zaporozhets was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 as one of the most successful people in the world in the enterprise technology sector.

In addition, international companies are outsourcing to numerous Ukrainian tech start-ups.

Firms such as Ecois.me and Petiole have gained international acclaim and were recognized for their contributions to the Ukrainian market.

Given their expertise, Ukrainian developers would be a valuable asset to the European community as they have demonstrated that they are very motivated, well-trained, and capable.

The recent rise in Ukraine’s tech industry has had a major impact on foreign investment. The tax burden in Ukraine is one of the lowest in Europe, and many investors have capitalised on this opportunity.

Investors

Private sector technology firms from Sweden have invested millions of dollars into the tech industry.

The strong performance of IT companies such as Sigma Software and Beetroot have encouraged others, like Danish company Clio Online, to enter the market.

As the IT sector continues to expand it is likely that private tech companies from other EU members will conduct business in Ukraine. This partnership could strengthen international cooperation between the EU and Ukraine.

The IT sector in Ukraine could also help reduce corruption. During the early 2000s Estonia invested heavily in the tech industry, even choosing to develop electronic services to oversee transactions online between government and citizens.

These programs established greater transparency and facilitated good governance. In the words of former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, “you can’t bribe a computer.”

Thanks largely to the effect of technology, the Baltic state is now ranked 23rd in the world on the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Using Estonia as a model, Ukraine’s IT sector could play a critical role in fighting corruption, thereby building confidence in Ukraine and easing the concerns of critics in the EU.

With demonstrated strength in the growing IT sector, Ukraine is showing that it can compete with the tech industries of any Western state, and data processing solutions can contribute to greater efficiency and investments across both the private and public sectors.

This suggests that Ukraine is not as far behind as critics suggest, and that skeptics in the EU should not be so hasty in dismissing a potential engine of growth on the continent.

Author: Mark Temnycky is a Ukrainian-American pursuing a masters in public administration and international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University, New York, in the US

Source: Euobserver

New ‘Locomotive’ Powering Ukraine as Economy Retools After War

Ukraine is starting to live up to its reputation as Europe’s breadbasket.

Exports of wheat, barley and sunflower oil are at or near all-time highs, part of an agricultural revival that began to take hold in 2013. The industry’s rise coincides with declines in export mainstays such as steel and iron ore, which are produced largely in the nation’s east and have suffered amid the conflict there with Russian-backed insurgents. Trade data due Tuesday are set to underline the shift.

Agriculture has become “a locomotive of the Ukrainian economy,” central bank Deputy Governor Dmytro Sologub said in an interview. “The numbers are really stunning.”

Agriculture’s ascent may only be starting. Irrigation projects could help boost the grain harvest to 100 million metric tons from 66 million tons, according to Agriculture Minister Taras Kutovyi, who hasn’t provided a timescale for the increase. Other potential drivers include canceling a ban on selling farmland, a requirement of the nation’s $17.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

The shift can be seen in Ukraine’s goods exports, more than 40 percent of which are now agricultural products, while the share of ferrous metals has shrunk to a quarter. Ukraine, a country of 45 million people, could one day produce enough food to feed half a billion, Kutovyi predicts.

There are downsides. There are already record stockpiles of wheat globally. Also, an over-reliance on one group of commodities can sabotage economic growth when their prices decline. But global demand for grains and food is set to advance in the long term, making demand less vulnerable than for metals, according to Olena Bilan, an economist at Kiev-based investment bank Dragon Capital.

Agriculture has been key to Ukraine’s recovery from a two-year recession, with the economy surging 4.7 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter, the most since 2011. While the government is lagging behind in some reform efforts, favorable rainfall in the fall and winter mean there could be another record harvest this year, according to Tetiana Adamenko, head of the National Weather Center’s agriculture department.

2017 Should Be the Year Ukraine’s Economy Takes Off

Three years after the Revolution of Dignity, the Ukrainian economy has stabilized and is ready for growth. Will the growth be fast or slow? Dangers lie ahead, but opportunities prevail.

Success is easily taken for granted, so it is worth recalling what Ukraine has accomplished in the past three years. An unsustainable budget deficit of 10 percent of GDP has now been brought down to about 3 percent of GDP, mainly through cuts in public expenditures. The public debt has leveled out at 80 percent of GDP, while the IMF had feared it would spiral out of control. The government has sensibly reduced the exorbitant payroll tax from 45 percent to 22 percent.

Foreign payments have reached balance thanks to a necessary devaluation of the hryvnia, and the exchange rate has stabilized on the market. Ukraine’s international gold and currency reserves have surged from $5 billion in February 2015 to $15 billion, sufficient for a gradual liberalization of the strict currency controls. Ukraine accomplished this while Russia deprived it of one quarter of its prior exports through draconian trade sanctions.

With the nationalization of PrivatBank on December 18, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has nearly completed an impressive cleansing of the corrupt and undercapitalized banking system. Owing to its strict monetary policy, the NBU has reduced inflation from a high of 61 percent in April 2015 to 12 percent today.

Ukraine has carried out major structural reforms. The unification of energy prices deprived corrupt gas traders of up to eight percent of GDP. The e-declarations of wealth will deal a major future blow to corruption. The ProZorro public procurement system does so as well, and so do deregulation and improved corporate governance.

Yet none of this offers the Ukrainian people much solace. The economy started growing by 2 percent in the third quarter of 2016, but only after a frightful slump of 17 percent in 2014-15. The quality of public services must also improve. These are the great hopes for 2017.

In the new year, reform of the state administration should finally start in cooperation with the European Union. The byzantine top government structures need to be simplified, modernized, and opened up.

Acting Minister of Health Ulana Suprun has launched the first real reform of the Ukrainian health care system. Minister of Education Lilia Hrynevych is sensibly trying to restore the twelve-year school system that was vandalized under Viktor Yanukovych. The most important reform of the state is the judicial reform that was legislated last June. A new Supreme Court is supposed to be composed in March.

Hopefully, a reformed government will interact better with the private sector. More deregulation is gradually taking place, but do not expect significant improvement of the fiscal or customs services. That is likely to take another year.

Current forecasts suggest 2-3 percent growth in 2017, but it should be the year that Ukraine takes off with a much higher growth driven by exports to Europe, the Middle East, and China. Lower inflation and interest rates should spur credit expansion and drive higher domestic investment. Energy production should rise with lower taxation.

Yet our forecasts must not be too rosy. The greatest threat to Ukraine’s immediate future is US President-elect Donald Trump, who seems to be dying for an early deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The victim is all too likely to be Ukraine.

Another Russian threat is the arbitration case between Naftogaz and Gazprom in Stockholm. Naftogaz claims $28 billion and Gazprom $39 billion, which renders this the biggest international arbitration case in history. A verdict is expected in the second quarter, though any settlement would presumably take years.

Traditionally, Ukraine received about 4 percent of GDP in foreign direct investment each year, but this has effectively been zero since 2014 because of Russia’s military aggression, and minimal recovery is expected in 2017.

By contrast, Ukrainian domestic concerns seem relatively limited. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman aspires to the legalization of private sales of agricultural land by 2020, which might be realistic. After having failed to privatize the Odesa fertilizer plant twice, privatization has stalled. Corruption scandals are ample and they are welcome because they expose and impede corruption.

In view of Ukraine’s substantial reform attainments and embattled position, one would hope that the international community would mobilize $5 billion a year in international investment credits to compensate for some of the great damage Russian aggression has caused to the Ukrainian economy.

Anders Åslund is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. He tweets @anders_aslund.

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