Remarks by the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the Third Ministerial Roundtable Discussion for Support to Ukraine

April 12, 2023

Dear President Zelenskyy, Dear Prime Minister Shmyhal, David, distinguished guests.

A lot has happened since we met in this group during the Annual Meetings last October. Ukraine has suffered devastating missile attacks on electricity and other critical infrastructure, causing loss of lives and hardship. Despite these attacks the economy is working, and the government is fully functional, delivering vital services to households and businesses across the country. 

During my visit in February to Kyiv and Irpin this February I was deeply disturbed by the cruelty of the war — the bombing, the impact on people’s lives, the marks in the physiology of the most innocent — the Ukrainian children.  At a make-shift day school a kid’s drawing of a tank brought me to tears — kids should be drawing flowers, not tanks. 

Above all I was hugely impressed by the remarkable resilience of the Ukrainian people and their determination to overcome the impact of the war.  Shops are open, people are going to work, banks are operating, and companies and households are paying their taxes. In Irpin a waste water treatment plant bombed by the Russians was completely restored and fully operational, and also freshly painted. Digital technology has made access to social and administrative services easier than before the war. Most businesses have fully resumed operations, thanks in part to the rapid restoration of power, water, and heat after Russian attacks and some are even expanding.  I talked to women leaders, members of parliament, and businesspeople — they all showed great confidence in the future of the country and determination to work for it.

With its actions Ukraine has earned strong international support and the IMF is proud to be part of it. On March 31, our Board approved a new four-year program for Ukraine under the Extended Fund Facility, for a total of US$15.6 billion. Once the program was approved, we disbursed the first tranche of US$2.7 billion.

Importantly, our loan is part of a much larger support package of US$115 billion comprising grants and concessional loans from donors, as well as flow relief from debt operations.

At the start of Russia’s invasion, our friends in Ukraine were counting money by the week. At our last roundtable during the Annual Meetings, we talked about the needs of the country for 2023. And now we have developed together a framework with large-scale international support for the next four years.

The goal of the IMF program is to support Ukraine in sustaining economic and financial stability, carrying out critical reforms to promote growth and advancing the accession to the EU.

This is not easy in view of the ongoing war, and conditions of exceptionally high uncertainty. The program is therefore tailored to work under different potential scenarios to restore macroeconomic stability and achieve debt sustainability.

I would emphasize the critical role of the timely disbursement of financing by external partners to avoid resorting to sub-optimal policies such as monetary financing.

I was heartened to see the number of countries that came forward with financing assurances to support Ukraine and the program. The framework has also been designed to encourage private investors to play an active role in Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction.

Let me finish by saying a few words about reconstruction. We are very appreciative for all the work that our colleagues from the World Bank, European Commission and the authorities have put into the latest damage and needs assessment, and the identification of critical needs. The findings are very much aligned with what I saw firsthand in Kyiv.

We know how challenging it can be to advance key projects at this time, and secure timely financing that is sufficiently concessional.

However, such projects are vital to support growth and address essential needs. We will continue to work very closely with Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko and his team to ensure that essential projects can be integrated into the financing envelope under the EFF, without jeopardizing the hard-won efforts to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability.

There is a lot of work ahead of us — may this work be soonest carried out in peace.

Thank you.