World Bank chief: Europe must contribute to financing Ukraine’s reconstruction

According to World Bank President David Malpass on Tuesday (11 April), the World Bank is prepared to play a role in helping to rebuild Ukraine after the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion, but other Western European nations will also need to contribute to cover the necessary financial obligations.

Speaking at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings, Malpass remarked that the World Bank had been crucial in helping to restore Europe’s steel industry following World War Two and could do the same for Ukraine.

He cited a recent estimate that the cost to reconstruct Ukraine’s economy would be $411 billion, or 2.6 times its anticipated 2022 gross domestic product, and stated, “But the size is daunting.” The figure, which was determined by the World Bank, United Nations, European Commission, and Ukraine, increased significantly from the $349 billion estimate made public in September of last year.

The World Bank committed $75 billion in total in 2022, a 50% increase from the average. Malpass noted that significant funding resources were available from the European Union.

“The bank is prepared to play its role in the reconstruction, but I do need to set the expectations for the world that the amount to rebuild the railroad, roads, and electricity sectors is way bigger relative to the size of the international financial institutions’ balance sheets,” he said.

Wednesday’s virtual speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to senior financial authorities will also include Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, who are in attendance at the sessions.

On Tuesday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterated Washington’s pledge to continue to support Ukraine as long as it is necessary. According to her, Ukraine will be supported by the United States and the European Union through the end of the year. However, if the battle continues, Washington will need to coordinate with allies to offer the necessary support.

She mentioned the creation of a multi-donor platform to coordinate a longer-term reconstruction strategy. Additionally, Washington has set aside certain funds for short-term, urgent reconstruction requirements, such as the restoration of its energy grid.

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