Ukraine and EBRD launch initiative to combat corruption

By Anton Usov

Ukraine and EBRD launch initiative to combat corruption

The government of Ukraine has pledged to do more to combat corruption with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), multilateral organisations as well as domestic and foreign business associations.

The Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative aims to improve the investment climate and to strengthen the economic outlook by ensuring greater accountability and transparency and more effective rule of law within the Ukrainian economy.

The government, the EBRD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and business associations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the initiative at a ceremony today in Kiev.

Speaking at the launch, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said, "Corruption is a scourge, hollowing out the economy, eating away at political life and undermining democracy. Signing this memorandum and launching this initiative will not stop corruption. It is, though, an important step, but just the first step, down a very long road. We salute the government of Ukraine for its determination to tackle this fundamental problem regardless of the adverse geopolitical situation in the country."

Under the initiative, an independent and independently-funded Business Ombudsman Institution will be set up for the first time in Ukraine.

It will be the first point of contact for companies seeking redress against unfair treatment.The new institution will provide for greater transparency of business practices in the region and it will make its reports public.

Combating corruption in Ukraine has become increasingly urgent because of the impact it is having on the willingness of companies to invest in the country.

A recent improvement in Ukraine’s rankings in the World Bank’s Doing Business report still leaves the economy at number 112, showing how much more work has to be done to attract much-needed capital and technology.

The original idea to launch the initiative emerged in early 2013 and has since developed into an eight-party Memorandum of Understanding. It was subsequently endorsed by all the other parties involved.

Today’s memorandum was signed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenuyk, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, the European Business Association, the Federation of Ukrainian Employers, the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.