Q: Which Ukrainian regions are the most interesting for foreign investors and why?
A: We have a few regions that are still being overlooked by foreign investors, even though they have a very good potential [for business]. For example, the eastern regions of Ukraine have very good potential for industrial development. This area is especially good for energy-related projects. Why? Because there is a very big demand for energy in our domestic market.
We have a very high level of education, especially in engineering studies, and at the same time a low cost of labour, combined with a very good resource base and infrastructure.
If we are talking about the south of Ukraine... Crimea, Kherson and Mykolaiv [are areas of interest]. Ukraine has a global potential in building an agriculture sector… Western parts of Ukraine border with four EU countries, and after the free-trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine is signed, there will be new business possibilities there. It also has colossal potential for the development of its tourism industry.
We could be assessing the potential of Ukraine's regions in a more detailed way – and, of course, that is what Ukrainian authorities and the agency that I am heading is currently doing – but a key problem that is stopping the inflow of investments to our country is a lack of information about regions and sectors, and also a lack of information about new laws which could significantly modernise the country. Also, information about new developments in our infrastructure – for example, our new airports – still does not get enough coverage abroad.
Q: What is Ukraine's strategy to attract crossborder investments?
A: Ukraine's strategy of economic development focuses on four key elements. First, energy, because Ukraine is one of the main producers of energy in Europe and one of the biggest consumers of energy as well. Second, infrastructure development, because if we look at the location of Ukraine in Europe and its trading routes, it is clear that Ukraine has crucial role to play in Europe, and the development of its infrastructure will be significant and influential, for example, in the supply of agricultural products. The third key element is the agricultural sector, and the fourth is high-tech industries, particularly the aerospace and aviation sector.
And, of course, I would also add tourism to that list, which may surprise some people. Ukraine is a very big market for tourism. We have summer holiday opportunities in our Black Sea resorts and Crimea which are unique, and for winter holidays, the Carpathian mountains are partly located in Ukraine. That is why the growth in Ukrainian tourism is one of the fastest in the world.
Q: What impact can the hosting of the European Football Championships have on Ukraine?
A: Thanks to the European Football Championships [co-hosted by Ukraine earlier this year], both Poland and Ukraine built some of the most modern stadiums in the world. These can be used not only for sporting events... they are multi-purpose buildings that can also be used for businesses, for example as exhibition centres. The Central Stadium in Kiev has already proved itself to be very effective as a social centre in the city.
Events such as the European Football Championships grab everyone’s attention. Apart from the event itself, the host naturally receives a significant amount of attention. That is also one of the main reasons why Ukraine submitted a bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. The value of such publicity should not be underestimated. People outside of our country still know very little about Ukraine and we believe that will change thanks to such sporting events.