George Soros Ready to Invest US$1 Billion in Ukraine
Ukraine’s economy is largely reliant upon its agriculture sector and agricultural exports. Grain and oilseed exports such as wheat, corn, sunflower and sunflower oil, as well as dairy, make up approximately 25% of the country’s total exports. In addition, Ukraine has the second largest agricultural land bank in Europe, equaling 41.5 million hectares, or 70% of the total country, of which it has increasingly been allowing foreign investors to buy.
Prior to the war in the east, the country was in a state of recession, however, since the conflict began, conditions have only worsened.
U.S. hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist, George Soros, a long-time advocate of investment in Ukraine, is calling upon Europe and the West to put together a $50 billion rescue plan for the country, similar to the Marshall Plan created for Germany after World War II. Soros points out that if the West would improve investment conditions, he is prepared to invest US$1 billion into projects he considers to be profitable such as agriculture and infrastructure.
Mr. Soros explains that the EU has been viewing Ukraine as a second Greece, but that this approach has not gotten the necessary results, adding that Ukraine’s situation is more pressing than that of Greece. To date, Greece has been granted €240 billion across two bailouts, compared to an offer of €40 billion to Ukraine led by the International Monetary Fund. Mr Soros goes on to state that the EU would do better to not focus so intently upon Greece as he gives it a one in three chance of exiting the Eurozone.
Soros offers the alternate solution of increasing attractiveness for foreign investors in the country through the inclusion of political risk insurance, and possible mezzanine financing at EU interest rates that are approaching zero, which he states would generate much more positive results compared to what he terms as the current ‘easy money’ policy, which he cites as increasing inequality in the EU.