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7 Feb, 2019 10:57

Century behind Europe: World Bank says Ukraine needs up to 100 yrs to reach German growth

Century behind Europe: World Bank says Ukraine needs up to 100 yrs to reach German growth

It will take Ukraine between 50 and 100 years to get to the same level of economic development as its European partners, the World Bank has revealed, as it called on Kiev to boost reforms further.

In its assessment of the country’s development, the World Bank said that under the current economic rate of merely 3 percent, Kiev will need at least 50 years to reach Poland’s GDP per capita and half a century more to close the gap with Germany, according to TASS and Ukrainian media, citing the bank’s findings.

The document was presented in Kiev on Wednesday. Ukraine is decades behind the necessary reforms and if it fails to adopt them, the growth rate will remain paltry, according to the World Bank’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, Cyril Muller, who was presenting the report.

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Last month the World Bank worsened its forecast for Ukraine’s economic growth for 2019, decreasing it from 3.5 percent to 2.9 percent, but hoping that it may expand up to 3.4 percent in 2020. In 2018, the organization stressed that corruption is one of the key factors slowing down the country’s development by nearly 2 percent annually.

However, the worsening economic situation has apparently had little effect on the Ukrainian rich, as the net worth of three top tycoons amounts to more than 6 percent of the country’s GDP, the World Bank found.

The figure is twice that of neighboring Russia and three times more than in Poland and has remained almost unchanged since 2007, according to Muller. The vice president noted that it is very difficult to implement any reforms, which he earlier said are vital for the country, when there are such “powerful groups of influence.”

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Kiev has an Association Agreement with the European Union and hopes to join the bloc at some point in the future. Brussels has recently poured cold water on the idea, as it did not include the country on its enlargement plan by 2025.

It has been more five years since Ukraine’s ‘Euromaidan’ protest movement ousted then-president Viktor Yanukovych and the new government took the course for closer alignment with the EU instead of Russia. However, the country is still ranked as emerging Europe’s poorest country, with a GDP per capita of just $2,960.

Ukrainians rank among the world’s poorest people, with the net wealth of citizens lagging behind Bangladesh and Cameroon. More than a million people in Ukraine are facing acute food insecurity, according to last year’s report by representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to the UN Security Council.

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