The three keys to Ukraine’s recovery

Anti-corruption measures, deepening ties with the EU and widespread investment are essential to entice displaced Ukrainians home, writes Mustafa Nayyem.

The World Today Updated 22 November 2023 Published 2 June 2023 2 minute READ

Mustafa Nayyem

Head of the State Agency for the Restoration of Ukraine

Despite immense challenges, the Ukrainian government has shown remarkable resilience and continues to function at all levels. However, the recovery process is just starting, and one of the first priorities remains the return of the nine million or so Ukrainians displaced by the war. To encourage these individuals to come home, Ukraine must focus on three areas to secure its long-term recovery. 


To make Ukraine an attractive option for displaced people, the nation must invest in its infrastructure, educational institutions and labour market. By addressing the needs outlined in Maslow’s hierarchy – psychological needs, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs – Ukraine can create an environment that encourages its citizens to return.

This includes improving transportation systems, upgrading educational facilities and expanding job opportunities. Building factories not only creates employment but stimulates the economy. Furthermore, promoting entrepreneurship will help the growth of new businesses and small enterprises.

Strengthening ties with the EU

Ukraine’s collaboration with the European Union has been instrumental in its recovery. Brussels has provided financial support, technological know-how and political backing, encouraging Ukraine to meet the criteria to make it eligible for EU membership.

Peacetime funding methods are inadequate to address the complex challenges Ukraine faces

The EU’s imposition of sanctions on Russia has isolated the aggressor, both economically and politically. However, it is crucial that international financial institutions and donors adapt their processes to cater to Ukraine’s unique circumstances. Traditional funding methods designed for peacetime are inadequate to address the complex challenges Ukraine faces.

Combating corruption

Corruption has long plagued Ukraine. To secure the country’s recovery, combating corruption must be a top priority. Donors should implement robust measures such as audits, compliance mechanisms and external controls to openly and honestly confront corruption. It is imperative to increase the salaries of public employees who currently receive inadequate pay. This deters corruption while enhancing the government’s overall capacity and accountability.

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Ukraine’s path to recovery is just beginning, with several critical issues yet to be resolved. The government must continue functioning at all levels, while donors and international institutions must adapt their protocols to address Ukraine’s circumstances. Combating corruption openly and honestly, generating jobs, utilizing domestic labour and supplies, and strengthening ties with the EU are essential steps towards securing Ukraine’s rehabilitation.

The international community must continue supporting Ukraine’s efforts to achieve stability and growth, despite the numerous obstacles that remain. By doing so, we can help Ukraine build a bright and more prosperous future.