The recent annual World Economic Forum (WEF) took place in Davos, Switzerland, bringing together world leaders, international media representatives, and activists. The main theme, “rebuilding trust,” was particularly relevant given the fragility of current geopolitics, especially in Ukraine.
From January 15 to 19, the Forum held deep discussions on various topics, including the war between Russia and Ukraine. Additionally, the role of innovative technologies in the contemporary tumultuous and dangerous world was discussed, along with considerations on how nations can collaborate and move towards a more interconnected world.
Technological advancements, the crucial role of artificial intelligence, its applications, and potential information biases were prominent in many discussions. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff emphasized the technological world's pursuit of ensuring the safe development of artificial intelligence: “We don’t want another Hiroshima. We’ve seen how technologies can go completely wrong. We don't want to see artificial intelligence in Hiroshima. We want to be sure that we understand everything now.”
During a special address to WEF participants, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Western allies for not imposing sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry, possibly due to the West’s reliance on Russian fuel. Zelensky stated, “Putin threatens not only Ukraine but the whole world.” He also sought investor support to strengthen and restore Ukraine’s economic stability and infrastructure, claiming to have received “positive signals” regarding EU financial support.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, affirmed Ukraine’s reliable ally status. She emphasized the need for “predictable financing throughout 2024 and beyond” and suggested that the European Union would find a way to bypass Viktor Orban’s veto and approve a special fund of €50 billion ($54 billion) for Ukraine if necessary.
However, it should be noted that her support does not appear popular among other major investors.
Zelensky met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, but prospects for Ukraine’s immediate entry into the Alliance seem bleak. If Ukraine were admitted to NATO, it would be protected by Article 5 of the Statute, which considers an armed attack on one or more member countries as an attack on all. Many world leaders believe that supporting Ukraine could further provoke Russia, leading to more significant conflict. Despite the lack of immediate support at the Forum, Zelensky took the opportunity to reiterate Ukraine’s position to the global elite.
The situation is urgent, and Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, firmly stated that “time is running out.” If military aid funding is not approved, they will “fight with shovels.”
Economic threats to Ukraine
Ukraine faces numerous threats, including war, the bleak realization that funding may not arrive soon, the impact of future elections on support levels, and an apparent lack of investment due to political instability and corruption.
Nevertheless, fund managers suggest that Ukraine represents a significant opportunity, and investors with strong nerves are open to collaboration with innovative companies and enterprises.
However, Ukraine will need to find and strengthen new economic models to secure funding, especially in the advanced technology sector. The need for financial independence is becoming increasingly crucial for Ukraine. By utilizing new economic models and advanced technologies, it could position itself as a strong and resilient global partner. Financial independence would enable more flexible responses to geopolitical challenges and formulation of policies that align with national interests.
Ukraine needs capital-intensive projects that will be attractive to international investors. Currently, there is a lack of projects ready for billion-dollar investments in public discussions, but world leaders and partners await our vision for economic development. We must eradicate the image of Ukraine as a “black hole for donors” and become a strong partner genuinely interesting to international investors.
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