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The road ahead

With wide-ranging reform and investment plans, Ukraine is bringing in foreign investors to overhaul its infrastructure sector

The Kiev-Chop highway, which has been upgraded to European standards, connects Ukraine with Western Europe. Photo: ONUR

Spanning the main trans-European corridors, Ukraine unites Eastern and Western Europe, the Baltic States with the Black Sea region, and the Trans-Caspian Transit Corridor connects it with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. But a combination of mismanagement during Soviet rule and periods of economic instability have meant that the country’s infrastructure is holding it back.

Now the Ministry of Infrastructure has laid out a National Transport Strategy for 2030, which calls for a minimum of $50 billion in investment while creating a public-private partnerships (PPP) office to attract foreign firms.

The initiative is bearing fruit: last February, U.S. firm GE signed a $1 billion deal to modernize the country’s railway system, switching out old Soviet-built locomotives for new machinery to increase the speed and reliability of goods exports.

“For us, the most crucial thing is transparency. I love foreign companies entering the country – I want them to change Ukraine,” said Volodymyr Omelyan, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure.

“In the last 2 years we have constructed more than 3,000km of roads, which is unprecedented”

Volodymyr Omelyan, Minister of Infrastructure

It’s not just railways that are being upgraded. A massive $11.4 billion has been earmarked for upgrades to roads, with half of that coming from the state budget. “In the last 2 years we have constructed more than 3,000km of roads, which is unprecedented,” said Omelyan.

And with the entry of low-cost airline Ryanair this year and the expected arrival of multinational container seaport operator Hutchison Ports, Ukraine is increasingly unlocking its potential to become a global connectivity hub.

Forthcoming infrastructure reforms

Source: National Investment Council of Ukraine

Approval of new legislation to facilitate PPPs

Reform of port tariffs and liberalization of ports services

Reform and modernization of the national railway company

Reform of legal framework governing river transportation and infrastructure

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