It is estimated that it will cost Ukraine at least $411 billion to rebuild, an amount that continues to rise each day as the conflict rages on. The Ukrainian government contacted BlackRock late last year to find out how they could attract investments, and JP Morgan joined the efforts in February. Last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he had been working with Black Rock and JP Morgan Chase as well as consultants from McKinsey.
The relationship between JP Morgan and Ukraine has existed for some time, with the financial institution assisting Ukraine in raising more than $25 billion of sovereign debt since 2010.
Known as the Ukraine Development Fund, the reconstruction bank is still in its planning stages and will not be launched until the hostilities with Russia come to a close. However, investors were given a preview of the efforts at a conference this week.
Although no specific fundraising goals have been announced, insiders report that the fund hopes to raise low-cost capital from international financial institutions, governments and donors that can be leveraged to attract significant private investments.
Both JP Morgan and BlackRock will be donating their services with a view to getting early insight into potential investments in the country. The financial institutions discovered in consultations that there is interest among public and private investors in helping Ukraine but many have reservations about the country's shallow capital markets, governance and lack of transparency, as well as war losses.
BlackRock advised Ukraine that a development finance bank should be established to identify opportunities for investment in sectors such as climate, agriculture and infrastructure in hopes of attracting long-term investors such as pension funds. One of the reasons JP Morgan was brought in was for its expertise in debt.
BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory Co-Head Brandon Hall told Financial Times: “Our view is that if you have a strong governance structure and an internationally credible set of stakeholders who are in the leadership position in this fund, then that will rgo a long way.”
At the Ukraine Recovery Conference yesterday, some of Ukraine’s allies pledged billions of dollars worth of non-military aid to help the country rebuild its infrastructure and promote its efforts to join the European Union.
At the conference, which was held in London, delegates from more than 60 countries met to discuss Ukraine's future. European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen committed to providing $55 billion of support through 2027, while Germany pledged $416 million of humanitarian aid. The US, which was represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the conference, promised more than $1.3 billion worth of additional aid, including more than $500 million that would be earmarked for restoring the country's damaged energy grid. Britain, meanwhile, offered $3.8 billion of World Bank loan guarantees for Ukraine along with $305 million in aid.
On the topic of Ukraine joining the European Union, Von der Leyen noted that although she expects Ukraine to one day be a part of the EU, the country still has some work to do in terms of reforming its judiciary and curbing corruption before it stands a chance. She added that these reforms would also serve to send “a powerful message" to potential investors that they will have the fairness and transparency they need to feel confident about making investments in Ukraine.
This sentiment was echoed by Blinken, who emphasized the importance of Ukraine cracking down on corruption. He added that some of the money being pledged by the US would be used to upgrade border infrastructure and ports and digitize its customs procedures to deter corruption.
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