Kiev - Gary Reusche offering tough love and new visions of the future to inspire Ukraine's transition
Gary Reusche has just retired from his IFC World Bank position and is now fully dedicated to making the most of this transitional period in Ukraine to offer some new ideas, values and ways forward in his country of residence. He is now an advisor to the management board for agricultural lending at “Bank Credit Dnepr” and professor at the Business School MIM-Kyiv, the highest ranked MBA program in Ukraine.
You can read here his opinion piece titled “The Miracle Scenario, Foreign Aid, Delayed Reforms and Tough Love” which was recently published in an influential magazine Vox Ukraine.
Gary offers below some of the ideas that he is sharing with the captive Ukrainian audiences:
“ebbf eschews partisan political activity, but this does not equate with inactivity in important social and economic trends and requirements that impact business. Youth and activists of all ages need alternative visions for building a future, visions that are offered by ebbf principles and the activities of ebbf members.
Working simply within the existing business community, correctly occupied with day-to-day concerns and issues, does not adequately address major issues such as corruption and ineffective use of foreign aid— issues that I address in an opinion published in VoxUkraine.org. I am convinced that the “silent majority” of Ukrainians want positive change, but feel alone and helpless to effect such change. By publishing perhaps a spark is created that leads to action.
My next article concerns the moratorium on land sales in Ukraine. Land was privatised in the early 1990s after the break up of the soviet union, and given to the workers of the soviet collective farms (such as my family members). Numerous initiatives to create a land market have been pre-empted by politicians seeking their own advantage. This has led to large financial corporations leasing literally tens of thousands of hectares. For example, one leases 500,000 hectares, which if compared to the largest farms in Europe would occupy the same amount of land as 2,000 of the largest farms. This phenomenom has resulted in almost no development of small and medium farms and rural enterprises and few employment opportunities for rural youth.
To accept this status quo, and support the large business holdings leasing the land, has huge implications for rural development and rural employment in Ukraine. Part of the reason this happens is because banks cannot lend to small and medium enterprises that have little or no collateral to offer.
The delays in establishing a land market are therefore establish a business environment that benefits large financial holdings, and sidelines opportunities for small and medium farms. Very few people in Ukraine see this connection but ultimately the connection is related to the business environment.”