BEST&BRIGHTEST: Investments in Ukraine. What potential do we have today and what are our prospects for the next 10-20 years?
Photo: Sasha Medvedev / nv.ua
Investments in the Ukrainian market are traditionally considered risky. But in a world undergoing a global transformation, today it is unlikely to find zones free from turbulence and risks. Against this background, Ukraine may look attractive, opening up new opportunities and new talents for investors.
After the pandemic, many Western companies began to consider Eastern Europe as an alternative production site to China. Every year, the technology sector and investments in it play an increasingly important role in the Ukrainian economy.
Ukraine ranks 1st in Europe in terms of exports of IT services and 11th among the top 50 developers in the world. In 2020, technology exports grew by 20.4%, exceeding $5 billion. The country is becoming an attractive destination for the relocation of IT specialists.
According to some estimates, about 13 thousand IT specialists moved to Ukraine from Belarus alone. Olena Kosharna, founder and CEO of Horizon Capital, talks about the investment potential of Ukraine.
We at Horizon Capital — a leading investment company in Central and Eastern Europe, managing private equity funds with over $1.1 billion in assets and over 27 years of investment experience in the region — see Ukraine as a country that offers significant growth opportunities for investors, as we say, brains, hands and grains, in particular in the areas of IT, manufacturing and agriculture.
Today, Ukraine has a strong potential for investment due to its numerous competitive advantages. Ukraine’s proximity to Europe – only 2 days away from European capitals, 19 free trade agreements with 47 countries – positions Ukraine as a strategic hub for the EU, the Middle East and Asia.
Since 2018, Ukraine has risen 12 positions in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking to No. 64 globally, ahead of Greece, Qatar, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina. In 2020, our country ranked 45th in the Global Innovation Index, ahead of India, Turkey, Brazil, Romania, and Russia. In 2021, Ukraine has risen to the 36th place among 165 countries in the Sustainable Development Goals Index.
TALENT IS THE MAIN RESOURCE
Of course, the most important advantage that Ukraine has is its talented people – visionary entrepreneurs who lead successful companies and appear in the media around the world.
These include Jooble founders Roman Prokofiev and Evgeniy Sobakarev, who created the №2 job search aggregator in the world, second only to the global company Indeed; Alexandr Konotopskyi from Ajax (a manufacturer of home security systems), that sells its products in more than 120 countries; Vladimir Mnogoletniy, founder of Genesis, under whose leadership a talented team has achieved impressive results in both Jiji, an ad service in six African countries, and BetterMe, one of the most downloaded health and fitness apps in the world, co-founded by Victoria Repa. Many other names can be named.
FORECAST FOR THE FUTURE: BET ON IT
In the next 10-20 years, the potential in the areas of IT, manufacturing and agriculture will grow. For example, already now the Ministry of Digital Transformation predicts the growth of the IT services sector to 17 billion per year, 10% of GDP ($5 billion in 2020, $110 million in 2003). Today, more than 80% of the assets of our funds are in the IT sector, and we do not stop and invest further.
We firmly believe that over the next two to three years, attention to Ukraine as an attractive investment destination will increase. This will be facilitated by numerous IPOs in the tech sector and strong visionary entrepreneurs who bring Ukraine to the global stage.