On June 29, the first webinar under the “DiasporaAid: Opportunities for Diaspora and Migrant Engagement to Advance Ukraine’s Economic Development” series, organized by the Economic Prosperity and Investment Committee (EPIC) of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) in partnership with UkraineInvest, IOM Ukraine, and Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce (CUCC), took place. A total of five webinars exploring various dimensions and areas of engagement of the Ukrainian diaspora and migrant community are foreseen under the series.
The first webinar titled “Diaspora and Migrant Investment in Ukraine” focused on the development of mechanisms and platforms for retail investors from the Ukrainian diaspora and migrant community to invest in Ukraine. The webinar also showcased the international experience of other diasporas to learn what could potentially be transferable, scalable, or adaptable to the Ukraine context. Avenues through which remittances from the global Ukrainian diaspora and migrant community may be optimized for Ukraine’s economic development were also explored.
The event was moderated by Natalia Nemyliwska, Director of EPIC at the UWC, who delivered opening remarks and guided the discussion of each panel. “The figures speak for themselves. In 2020, according to official statistics, Ukrainians abroad sent back more than $USD 11.8 billion in remittances. This amount accounts for 7.7% of Ukraine’s GDP in 2020, which is quite impressive. By comparison, Ukraine’s entire agro sector comprises 9% of GDP. It is time to now take action and untap this potential by developing secure, transparent, and economically viable investment vehicles for Ukrainian diaspora and migrant representatives,” she stated during opening remarks.
Along with Natalia Nemyliwska, opening remarks were delivered by Sergiy Tsivkach, Executive Director at UkraineInvest, and Michael Newson, Senior Labour Migration and Human Development Specialist at IOM Regional Office Vienna.
Speaking about UkraineInvest’s cooperation with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UWC, and other diaspora organizations, Sergiy Tsivkach emphasized that “raising global awareness about Ukraine, its investment and economic potential will be successful thanks to the joint efforts and synergy with representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora.”
As for the steps that need to be taken to increase diaspora investment, Michael Newson stated that “similarly to attracting any type of private investment, countries need to focus on creating an enabling environment and incentives for diaspora investors. This means building trust, communicating effectively, and developing inclusive and sustainable policies and programs fostering diaspora participation.”
The subsequent three panels included the following speakers: Kateryna Ardanyan, Migration and Development Officer at IOM Ukraine, Karim Karaki, Senior Associate at PwC Luxembourg, Zenon Potoczny, President of the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce in Canada, Emma Turos, Managing Director of Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, and Manoela Lussi, Programme Manager of Diaspora project at IOM Albania.
The next webinar will continue the meaningful discussion on how to harness the potential of Ukrainian diaspora and migrant community to further Ukraine’s economic development. The UWC will be hosting this event in cooperation with its partners. More details are to come.