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Economy Minister: Economic recovery requires return of 4.5 million Ukrainians

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 2, 2023 11:13 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, June 21, 2023. (Photo credit: Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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Ukraine's post-war recovery will require the return of 4.5 million of its people who fled abroad, Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said in an interview published by Forbes Ukraine on Nov. 2.

While over 6 million people fled Ukraine during the full-scale Russian invasion, only one million have come back, according to UN figures.

Their return will be key to Ukraine's economic recovery, Svyrydenko said.

Preliminary estimates show that attracting another 4.5 million people to return to Ukraine will "significant accelerate the pace of recovery."

While polls suggest that the majority of Ukrainians who fled the country want to come home, they will only do so on the condition of "security, housing, and work," the Economy Ministry believes.

Security is the task of "the Armed Forces, of course," but for areas already liberated from Russian occupation, the government aims to clear 80% of areas affected by explosive devices within 10 years, Svyrydenko said.

The provision of housing is being assisted by government programs like an e-Home (eOselya) mortgage lending project, according to Svyrydenko.  

Jobs are being created with government subsidies for training, business development, and grants to encourage specific industries.

Data shows that Ukraine's economy is already being impacted by the loss of many of its working-age population.

Job vacancies peaked in September to their highest point since the start of the invasion, as the number of candidates dropped.

Ukrainian businesses also reported that a serious shortage of personnel is contributing to a more pessimistic economic outlook, according a survey published by Ukraine's National Bank on Nov. 1.

Most Ukrainians who fled the war are in the European Union, where the Temporary Protection Directive allows them live and work inside EU until March 4, 2025.

Demographic disaster: Ukraine’s biggest post-war threat
The threat of a demographic crisis has been building in Ukraine for a while but Russia’s full-scale invasion has pushed it to the breaking point. The country had a population of 41 million in 2021, by the government’s reckoning. Now, it hovers around 35 million and experts warn
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