This is a curated list of the biggest economical news from Ukraine for the past week.
This week, Ukraine Nu interviewed CEO Lesia Ignatyk-Eriksen from NordicUkraineInvest, a company helping Scandinavian companies get in touch with Ukrainian factories, about obstacles connected to doing business on the ground in Ukraine.
“Ukraine has great potential and huge know-how in production, but many factories aren’t exporting anymore due to the war that stopped exports to Russia. So they are now looking towards Western Europe, but it is a new market they need to get used to,” she said.
But before we look into that, the number one story of this week still has to be the ongoing wave of the coronavirus. Today, again, Ukraine registered a record high number of new cases with 27,377 new cases from 9 AM yesterday to 9 AM today.
699 people died with coronavirus in the same period and 12,646 patients recovered from the disease. Almost 300,000 people got either the first or the second dose of the vaccination against COVID-19.
Kyiv has entered the red zone, meaning that there are new and strict regulations in place for especially businesses. After vaccination many of these regulations can largely be ignored by showing your vaccine passport.
Still many people in Ukraine are against vaccination. Some even went to demonstrate in the middle of Kyiv, blocking traffic but not leaving a mark except for that. However, for those people, there are bad news.
Mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitchko, said this week, that the Ukrainian capital could expect living in the red zone for at least another month. Most cities in Ukraine has to get used to the idea of the red zone, it seems.
“If in two or three weeks, we see the number of cases declining, if we meet ‘orange’ zone criteria, the city’s emergency commission will decide whether to ease some restrictions,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately, today, there is no such trend.”
CEO: Ukraine has obstacles, but they can be overcome
Now to the interview. Since 2018 CEO Lesia Ignatyk-Eriksen from NordicUkraineInvest has helped several Scandinavian companies get a foothold in Ukraine, establishing cooperation with Ukrainian companies in different industries such as furniture building and metalwork.
“There are more communication mistakes here, but that being said, when those are overcome, it is possible to get high-quality work done here at low costs,” she adds and says that Scandinavian companies who want to enter the Ukrainian market would benefit from contacting the local embassy first or companies like her own.
“If not, it is possible to lose a lot of money here, but if you hire Ukrainian speaking people, who know how to speak to these people, it can be overcome,” Ignatyk-Eriksen adds.
People from, for example, Denmark are much more detail-oriented than Ukrainians, she says and adds that Ukrainians are less focussed on long-term plans. Ukraine is often experiencing some kind of political turmoil or other instability, which makes Ukrainians less plan-oriented.
“The companies who managed to get it worked out, they get great quality, sometimes even better than they could do at home, for a fraction of the prize,” says Ignatyk-Eriksen.
Do you have energy?
Energy has, as always, also been a hot topic. Russia stopped exporting thermal coal to Ukraine from November 1. Seven different power plants are importing coal from Russia, so that might mean a price hike is incoming.
Ukraine has entered heating season with very low stockpiles of coal. Across the country, power plants and heating stations stored just 710,000 tons of coal, which is a quarter of the planned stock, according to Kyiv Post.
In the world of green energy, EBRD has decided to invest in the green bonds placed by Ukrenergo, the state electricity operator. Ukrenergo has an enormous debt to companies producing renewable energy, and the bonds are set to repay this debt.
Reshuffle of the cabinet
Five ministers from the Ukrainian government has handed in their resignations. They have all been approved by the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. Most notably the minister of Defense, Andrij Taran, has left without saying why. He has previously been under fire a lot for his work.
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, Oleksii Reznikov, is expected to take his place, as he has been nominated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the post.
The First Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Oleksiy Lyubchenko also resigned along with Ole Uruskiy, the Minister of Strategic Industries and Roman Abramovsky, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resoruces Roman Abramovsky. The new ministers has not been found yet.