KYIV -- Hours after World Bank President Jim Yong Kim promised to bring investors to Ukraine if the government stays on the reform track, UkraineInvest, the investment promotion agency, showcased high tech startups for the visitor from Washington.
Kim, on his first visit to Ukraine, attended the Ukraine: Innovation and Opportunity Forum in Kyiv. There he saw presentations by Smart Farming, MyHelix, Open World System, Sincere Tech, ArtKB, Ajax Systems, HELi, and Solar Gaps.
“Ukraine’s best assets are its brains and grains – our outstanding human capital, technical advances, great location, and ample, fertile soil,” Daniel Bilak, UkraineInvest director, told Kim, a Korean-American physician.
Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, host of the event, stressed Ukraine’s drive to upgrade to EU standards. He called for “innovation – both in manufacturing and in government.”
“Over the past three years, we have stabilized the country and transitioned into real growth,” Kubiv said. “Macroeconomic stability and GDP growth of 2-3% has restored faith in Ukraine. But we won’t stop in our drive for 5-7% growth, creating high-skilled jobs, until every Ukrainian feels the positive impact.”
Kubiv said that the draft 2018 National Budget allots almost $2 million in startup seed money for an “Innovation Support Fund.”
Kim, who was elected to the presidency of the World Bank five years ago, is the first World Bank president to visit Ukraine. Since independence, Ukraine has received $12 billion investments and aid from Washington-based lending institution.
"Ukraine is at a critical moment in history,” Kim told the audience. “The World Bank is looking for ways to invest more in the people of Ukraine. Now is the best time for landmark change.”
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