Sunday, January 4, 2015

4/1/2015: "Betting on Ukraine" - Project Syndicate


I have been trying to reduce my commentary on Ukraine to a minimum for a number of reasons, including the viciousness of the 'Maidan lobby' and the fact that Ukraine is not a part of my specialisation.

However, occasionally, I do come across good and interesting commentary on the subject. Here is one example: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/european-union-ukraine-reform-by-andres-velasco-2014-12.

To add to the above: the USD15 billion additional funding required, as reported to be estimated by the IMF, will also not be sufficient. Ukraine will require double that to address investment gap. USD15 billion estimate only covers the short-term fiscal gap.

Note: I called from the very start of the crisis for a Marshall Plan for the Ukraine, and suggested that for it to be more effective it should include Russian participation in funding and economic engagement. Funding Ukraine via standard IMF loans (shorter maturity instruments designed to address immediate liquidity crises) is simply useless. The country needs decade-long reforms and these reforms will have to be accompanied by investment and growth for them to be acceptable politically and socially. Such funding can only be supplied by a structured long-term lending programme. One additional caveat to this is that funding sources must be distinguished from funding administration. Given extreme politicisation of Ukrainian situation, neither Russia, nor the EU or the US can be left to administer actual funding programme. Hence, the task should be given to an World Bank or IMF-run administration mechanism that includes direct presence at the Board level of funders.
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