On 20 November, the third annual conference of DOBRE Partners on Strategic Development and Investments began in Kyiv. The conference has traditionally been a platform for discussing how to engage and motivate a potential investor, choose the right investment strategy and enhance the investment attractiveness of amalgamated hromadas.
The event is organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) / “Decentralisation Offering Better Results and Efficiency” (DOBRE) Programme.
For the first time this year, in addition to the 75 DOBRE partner hromadas, the organisers provided opportunities for other hromadas to participate. In total, about 400 participants gathered at the conference, including representatives of AHs, investment funds, financial institutions, large and local businesses, international technical assistance projects, central and regional authorities.
Susan Fritz, USAID Mission Director to Ukraine, noted:
“Decentralisation is a successful reform, so we have the desire to continue to support it. We will look for opportunities to spread the experience of decentralisation to other hromadas. We are currently discussing with the Government and Parliament how we can further support this reform and promote decentralisation throughout Ukraine.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine:
“Our ministry is not only about the transformation of state services, but also the way people think and the way they do business. I used to live in a small town that will soon become part of an AH. We are engaged in “the state in the smartphone”, but when I get home, I understand that people do not see it there and lose hope. How can we help people in hromadas and small cities? We can introduce digital tools in hromadas that will provide new opportunities for their residents at different stages of life. For example, these are electronic queues for kindergartens, child registration, courses for young parents, electronic journals in schools, online career guidance, IT courses; for adults these are job search courses, coworking courses where you can gain new knowledge. There are overlapping tools that can be implemented quickly and people will see the result quickly. As early as 21 January 2020, we are launching our first online digital skills training platform. This knowledge opens great opportunities for development. It is also important for us to have in our hromada a person with innovative thinking to help us implement our educational and digital projects.”
The decentralisation process will be completed next year. The main thing is that all hromadas are formed into capable ones and are able to solve problems and create conditions for development. This was emphasised by Vyacheslav Nehoda, Deputy Minister of Development of Communities and Territories of Ukraine:
“Our aim is to form capable hromadas, small islands where a complex development can be ensured. The main criterion for a prosperous hromada is the presence of 250 school-age children and 100 preschool children and inseparability of the territory. But the most important capability criterion is the presence of people in the hromada ready to take on the responsibility and tackle the challenge of decentralisation – not amalgamation, but creation of conditions for development.”
Oleksandr Korinnyi, chairman of the board of the AH Association, head of the Novoukrayinska AH, Kirovohrad Oblast:
“Each hromada must clearly define its feature to build the opportunity for development. When preparing a strategy, you should first turn to entrepreneurs. Even when we are planning non-economic projects, we must keep the economy in mind, look at our hromada with the eyes of investors.”
Olesya Zhulynska, PR Director at Coca-Cola Ukraine:
“Your success is completely your preparation. How are you different from other hromadas? Determine why an investor should come to you, whether you have trained staff, how much your hromada is willing to make investments. Get ready for every meeting. Steal someone else's ideas and adapt them to you. If you have a creative, simple website, it can be easily visited. If you also have the English version, Americans can come to you. Sometimes a communication strategy is even more important than an economic development strategy. One wants to live with those with whom it is easy. That's how investors look at hromadas.”
During the conference, four hromadas were awarded for the highest capacity index according to DOBRE.
According to DOBRE Programme Manager Barry Reed, hromadas need to focus more on long-term development, working for the future. According to Barry Reed, it is very important for local governments to communicate with their residents and local businesses so that they can understand the direction of the hromada.
The conference work is ongoing. Today, the participants will be divided into three working groups, each with a thematic discussion (agenda).
All the videos and materials of both days of the Strategic Development and Investment Conference are available in the Interactive materials of the DOBRE Programme section.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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