The FINANCIAL -- On a two-day visit to Ukraine, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim reiterated the institution’s support for the country’s ambitious reform agenda aimed at accelerating growth and improving people’s lives.
Kim met with President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and members of his cabinet. During his visit, Kim also met with leaders in parliament, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, as well as key anti-corruption officials and representatives from civil society and the private sector, according to the World Bank.
“We applaud the remarkable reforms Ukraine has implemented, which have helped the economy return to growth, Kim said. "The people of Ukraine have been through some very difficult times, and the challenge now is to ensure that the country’s progress continues and is shared by all Ukrainians."
Kim discussed the importance of unlocking Ukraine’s agriculture potential through land reforms that would benefit all landholders. Lifting restrictions on land sales and providing greater access to credit can help farmers grow their businesses, attract private investment, expand food exports, and play an important role in global food security.
“Ukraine can greatly improve people’s lives by implementing land reform," Kim said. "This is the key to unlocking the country’s economic potential and can boost growth by 1.5 percent per year.”
Kim was encouraged by the progress of healthcare reform and offered the World Bank’s continued support for its implementation. Improving the quality of care is critical in a country where life expectancy is ten years shorter than the European average.
Kim commended the Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations for taking steps to fight corruption, including the publication of asset declarations, and the investigation of cases by the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office. Kim called for the urgent establishment of an independent Anticorruption Court to bring corrupt officials to justice.
"The creation of an independent anticorruption court is the critical next step to tackle corruption and State capture, which are the biggest obstacles to Ukraine’s development and prosperity,” Kim said. “Corruption costs the country around 1 to 2 percent of potential economic growth each year. Progress in fighting corruption is crucial to grow businesses, create jobs, attract investors, and provide equal opportunities for all Ukrainians.”
Kim met with private sector representatives and young entrepreneurs to discuss how innovation can help unleash Ukraine’s potential and contribute to sustainable, long-term growth. He also discussed how to boost investor confidence to meet Ukraine's large investment need.
Kim acknowledged that completing reforms will be challenging, but necessary to reach Ukraine’s potential. The World Bank Group is committed to continuing its support, so the aspirations of all Ukrainians can be realized.