Can a new Ukrainian DFI get off the ground?
BlackRock, JPMorgan and McKinsey are working on plans for a new development finance institution focused on Ukraine’s reconstruction. The project has already had to temper some ambitions, but its advisers still hope it can propel flows of private-sector money to Ukraine in years to come.
Like so many people in the West, Andrew Forrest was at once horrified and enraged by Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.
Just weeks after the full-scale invasion started, Forrest – one of Australia’s richest people – started to corral support for what he said should become a fund of at least $100 billion, targeting Ukraine’s reconstruction, and focused on green infrastructure. In the aftermath of the biggest war in Europe since 1945, Forrest saw it as a chance to replicate the post-Second World War Marshall Plan of US economic aid to Europe.
After bringing up the idea during meetings in early 2022 with leaders including US president Joe Biden and then UK prime minister Boris Johnson, the mining and renewable energy billionaire spent a week in Kyiv, meeting president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others. Forrest, who is also known by his childhood nickname Twiggy, then committed seed capital of $500 million from his family office in November.
In June this year, Forrest took to the stage to explain his decision, at a UK government-led conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction. He was dressed in a sky-blue suit and bright-yellow tie, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.