Kyiv, 7 April 2014, Ukraine Crisis Media Center – Prof.Jeffrey D. Sachs at the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center reported on his visit to Ukraine and meetings with the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk. During his meetings he discussed a range of issues facing Ukraine in this challenging situation. Prof. Sachs identified long term and short term challenges facing Ukraine’s economy. The short term challenges are establishing financial stability in the middle of the crisis. The long term structural challenges are achieving economic growth in the face of Russian hostility. The short term crisis, says Prof. Sachs, is very serious because of the geopolitical situation, recent events in Crimea and Russian building up its troops at the Ukrainian borders. In the long term, Ukraine like many other countries of this region, needs to restructure its industries. Although Ukraine clearly looks to Europe, it is deeply intertwined with Russia economically, and if Russia closes the borders that would have major impact on Ukraine’s economy.
Short term financial assistance to Ukraine by IMF, the European Union and other organizations will be important in resolving immediate crisis, said Prof. Sachs. “When I return to Washington, I will recommend to go forward with the financing package at top speed”. While IMF agreement is good for Ukraine, it is not enough. Real problems are overcoming the legacy of the poor governance and corruption of previous governments.
Energy security is also a big issue for Ukraine and Europe overall, said Prof. Sachs. Ukraine, being a country which both imports and transports gas from Russia to Europe, plays a big role in the European gas security situation.
Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is also Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. His books include The End of Poverty and Common Wealth.