Global equity firm General Atlantic is contemplating investing in Ukraine’s information technology services sector, according to its CEO, William E. Ford.
Speaking at the annual Yalta European Strategy – or YES – conference in Kyiv on Sept. 14, Ford described the country’s 3 percent economic growth as attractive for investors and praised Kyiv’s economic policy.
“We don’t have (investments in Ukraine) now, but we are evaluating the IT services space,” Ford said. “Ukraine has got many of the building blocks” for investment.
The CEO said macroeconomic stability led by competent central banking as critical to attracting foreign capital. He also described inflation, currency volatility, interest rate volatility as “anathema to investment.” To this end, he praised the work of the National Bank of Ukraine, whose orthodox monetary policy has been cited as one of the country’s recent accomplishments.
Ford said he was “particularly encouraged” by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s comments during his open remarks at the conference, in particular his comments on judiciary reform.
He also highlighted Ukraine’s strong academic capability in science, technology, engineering, and math. This will form a talent base to create new business and lead to entrepreneurship, Ford said.
Ukraine’s IT sector has seen significant growth in recent years, with cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv becoming industry centers in the country. Ukrainian IT’s bread and butter is outsourcing, harnessing the country’s lower salaries and significant talent pool to help Western companies expand their development teams’ capabilities at a low price.
At the present moment, many global companies want to diversify away from India, the traditional source of IT services. Countries like Romania, Estonia, and Ukraine offer technical talent and a timezone advantage.
“I think Ukraine can really compete to occupy that position,” Ford said. “Romania has done quite well as an outsourcing center.”
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