22 June 2023, London – The President and UK Foreign Secretary welcomed Dr Forrest’s investment and leadership in kickstarting the UDF that will be critical in the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, with a focus on the development of green energy and digital infrastructure. Dr Forrest called on other global investors to see Ukraine for what it is, an excellent long-term investment with major collateral social good.
Deputy Minister for the Economy Oleksandr Gryban welcomed Dr Forrest’s investment and leadership for the UDF. He said: “Dr Andrew Forrest has been there with us from the start. He brought this private investment fund idea to us modelled off the Marshall Plan and then has worked together with BlackRock to bring it to fruition. We will not only rebuild Ukraine but also make it an attractive place for global business as a major European green economy. Together with Dr Forrest and BlackRock, we will assist Dr Forrest with direct outreach to ensure other investors can get involved.”
Mr Charles Hatami, who oversees BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory group (BlackRock FMA) in his capacity as Global Head of the Financial and Strategic Investors Group, said: “BlackRock is honoured to assist the Ukrainian people by advising their government on the launch of the Ukraine Development Fund. We recently had the privilege of visiting Kyiv, where we met with President Zelenskyy and members of his cabinet. We were greatly impressed by the unwavering resilience demonstrated by the Ukrainian people. Preparations for the Fund are well underway, with a focus on rapid capital deployment as soon as hostilities cease. The Fund will play a crucial role in Ukraine’s modernisation and transformation into an appealing international investment destination.”
The idea for the UDF was conceived and developed by Dr Forrest and inspired by the World War II Marshall Plan. After discussions with the Secretary General of the OECD and the President of the USA and his Chief of Staff at the White House in March 2022, Dr Forrest then approached Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, to seek advisory support for creating an investment vehicle.
The UDF was announced by the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy and will be the most effective way to catalyse investment in Ukraine post the war. It will enable a secure, reliable pathway for private investment. It will complement the work of Ukraine and its public sector partners and build confidence in Ukraine as an investment destination.
Dr Forrest’s investment to various layers of the UDF will enable it to start the moment that hostilities cease to the satisfaction of the Ukrainian Government and BlackRock. He will be a strategic adviser in the establishment of the Fund and his investment groups in green strategic metals, green iron, green hydrogen and green electricity, will collectively act as an advisory team to the Ukrainian government.
Dr Forrest said: “We must not aim to build back what Ukraine was, with its antique Soviet-era infrastructure. We must imagine what it can be with vision, planning and availability of the world’s best technology, management and thinking. This will position the rebuilding of Ukraine not as simply a recovery, but as a major opportunity for national renewal. We will build a future that is digital, green, fair and corruption free. We are joining with all of the free world to help walk the Ukrainian people into a golden era, coming out of this dreadful war. To not build what it was, but build to its easily brightest future yet.”
Dr Forrest spent nearly a week in Ukraine and visited Kyiv in June 2022, meeting the majority of Ukraine’s Cabinet including President Zelenskyy, where the early-stage principles for the strategy were agreed.
Following an introduction by Dr Forrest in September 2022, BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory (BlackRock FMA) group has worked closely with the Ukrainian Government, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby BlackRock FMA is providing advisory support in developing an investment framework to attract private capital for the recovery and support of Ukraine’s economy. In May 2023, the Ukrainian Ministry of Economy announced BlackRock FMA’s appointment to advise on the design of the Ukraine Development Fund.
The Forrests’ philanthropic organisation Minderoo Foundation has already contributed millions of dollars to help the Ukrainian people, including funding the first humanitarian grain shipment out of Ukraine in August, and providing critical grain storage facilities for farmers whose crops would have otherwise perished. Further, 180 generators were provided to assist with energy supply.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Economy appointed BlackRock’s Financial Markets Advisory Group (“BlackRock FMA”) in May 2023 to provide advisory services in support of the design of the UDF, on a pro bono basis. This reflects the continued partnership between BlackRock FMA and the Ukrainian Government after the initial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) in November 2022 after Dr Forrest facilitated the process. The UDF will mobilise and attract public and private capital into the reconstruction of Ukraine by using a range of innovative and traditional financial instruments. The structure will comprise a multi-layered approach guided by strong governance and global standards for sound financial and risk management practices. The UDF will target key sectors of the Ukrainian economy including energy, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and IT. The Fund will contribute to Ukraine’s efforts to build back the economy in line with best practices and become a key partner to the global community in the low carbon transition.
The UDF aims to mobilise private and public investments to support the post-conflict reconstruction and modernisation of key sectors within the Ukrainian economy. The latest World Bank damage assessment report estimates Ukraine’s total recovery and reconstruction needs at $411bn as of February 2023. Since the beginning of the war, a range of critical bilateral and multilateral financial aid initiatives have been launched to address humanitarian, military, budgetary, and short-term economic relief efforts in Ukraine.