From Reforms to War: An Overview of IMF Directors` Visits to Ukraine

Mariia Mygal

Ukraine has been cooperating with the International Monetary Fund almost from the moment of gaining independence. The IMF has supported our country at different times in its history, in particular, it provided significant assistance in times of increased pressure from russia. In times of crisis, the Fund did not just provide financial assistance – its managing directors personally visited Ukraine to discuss reforms, reduce the budget deficit, stimulate the economy and increase the country’s competitiveness. This year, Kristalina Georgieva visited Ukraine, which demonstrates the IMF’s strong support, emphasizes the effectiveness of the government and the National Bank in the face of war, and sends a clear signal of further support to the international financial community.

What preceded the visits of the Fund’s top management, what topics were discussed, and what were the implications for Ukraine of the decisions made?

Michel Camdessus, 1998

IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus met with the then President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma on August 26, 1998. The reason for the visit was the deep economic crisis in russia, which affected Ukraine. 

Michel Camdessus
*The impact of the 1998 crisis on Ukraine
**EFF Extended Fund Facility Program

Rodrigo de Rato, 2005

The IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato visited Ukraine on August 5, 2005, after the events of the Orange Revolution. At a meeting with elected President Viktor Yushchenko, the parties discussed the state and prospects of Ukraine’s economy. It is worth noting that 2005 was also not without pressure from russia – we are talking about the so-called “gas conflict“. At that time, the price of russian gas per thousand cubic meters almost doubled for Ukraine, from $50 in 2005 to $95 in 2006. 

Rodrigo de Rato

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 2010

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn visited Ukraine on October 2, 2010. He met with President Viktor Yanukovych, who had been President of Ukraine for almost a year at the time. The parties discussed the current economic situation in the country and Ukraine’s cooperation with the IMF. During the visit, Strauss-Kahn also took part in the Yalta European Strategy conference. 

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Christine Lagarde, 2015

The visit of IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to Ukraine on September 6, 2015, was the result of a deep economic crisis that arose after the events of the Revolution of Dignity and the armed occupation of Crimea and Donbas. It is worth noting that in early 2015, the IMF agreed on the largest loan for Ukraine in the history of cooperation – about $17.5 billion – under the Extended Fund Facility Program. Due to the failure to fulfill the agreements, Ukraine received only about $7 billion.

Kristalina Georgieva, 2023

The IMF Managing Director visited Ukraine before the anniversary of the full-scale invasion on February 20, 2023. Kristalina Georgieva met with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, and NBU Governor Andriy Pyshnyy, among others. 

Kristalina Gerogieva

As we can see, the focus of each IMF Managing Director’s recommendations during their visits to Ukraine differed according to the challenges facing the country at the time:

What does the visit of Kristalina Georgieva during a full-scale war mean for Ukraine?

  • Financial support. Ukraine’s budget deficit for 2023 is about $38 billion, but this forecast is not final – the amount may increase. Financial assistance from the IMF is extremely important, as it will help strengthen and stabilize Ukraine’s financial system. 
  • A signal of institutional capacity. The arrival of Kristalina Georgieva during the war shows that Ukraine continues to successfully overcome challenges, ensures the stability of the financial system, and continues to pursue reforms despite the war. This sends a signal to other development partners and investors to support Ukraine’s economy.
  • Prospects for cooperation. We have successfully passed the monitoring program and received high marks for achieving the set quantitative and indicative targets. This gives grounds to talk about the prospects of concluding a new extended financing program with the IMF.

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has been experiencing extremely important support from the IMF. As a result of Kristalina Georgieva’s visit this year, we received a high assessment of the resilience of the Ukrainian economy in the face of a full-scale russian invasion and confidence in the Fund’s unwavering support in the future.

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