Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels stand together to "Rebuild Ukraine"
The war in Ukraine is not over yet, but Western countries are coming together today and tomorrow, February 16, at a major event in Warsaw, Poland, entitled "Rebuild Ukraine". Belgium is also present, represented in two stands in the center of the Warsaw Expo building.
The three international investment and business agencies from Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia are sharing a stand numbered 7-4, housing Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), Hub.brussels and Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX). The Belgian company "NordiTube Technologies" is at stand 8-9 to propose production and rehabilitation of industrial tubes.
"Rebuild Ukraine" describes itself as a platform for the recovery projects, materials, technologies, equipment and investments needed to rebuild the war-torn Ukrainian economy. The project is supported by the Ukrainian government and by Ukrainian private entrepreneurs.
With Brussels as a base and for an initial period of 6 months, FIT commissioned a representative for the 'Rebuild Ukraine' project to support Flemish-Ukrainian economic relations and ensure access for Flemish companies to recovery and reconstruction programmes. "We must grasp the opportunities for our companies and give them the chance, with their know-how, expertise or technologies, to support Ukraine as soon as the situation allows so," explained FIT's CEO, Joy Donné.
FIT also cooperates with AWEX, which had a team in Kiev before the war broke out but is currently forced to work remotely. This team also answers questions from Flemish companies that export to Ukraine or plan to do so in the future.
Too early or too late?
Last January, Ukraine hosted four days of panels and cultural events alongside the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to secure more financial support from business leaders to help rebuild the country. Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Western allies have given tens of billions of dollars, including weapons, but Kyiv is also concerned with rebuilding the country.
Some analysts already estimate the cost of reconstruction at as much as US$ 1 trillion. Others consider such planning "premature", even if it includes not only donations from international development organizations and private investments, but also a potential redistribution of seized Russian assets.
Ukraine's gross domestic product (GDP) has dropped by more than 30% as a result of the war with Russia.
#FlandersNewsService | A team of workers repairing a road near the town of Izyum, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine on October 18, 2022. © BELGA PHOTO (Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)