Czech companies eager to take part in post-war reconstruction of Ukraine
One of the topics on the table during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Prague last week was the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, in which hundreds of Czech companies are eager to partake. Tomáš Kopečny, the government’s envoy for the reconstruction of Ukraine, is due to travel to Kyiv this week, together with 30 Czech business leaders to ascertain the possibilities.
While Czechia is still heavily involved in providing military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, talks are underway to lay the foundations for long-term cooperation that will continue when the war ends and help Czech companies to establish themselves on the Ukrainian market.
During President Zelensky’s visit to Prague last week the two sides signed a memorandum on cooperation between the Czech and Ukrainian ministries of defense; a document that will help to develop closer cooperation in the repair and maintenance of weapons, their development and modernization.
But, in addition to the weapons industry, there are dozens of Czech companies in the civilian sector which would like be involved in rebuilding the country. Tomáš Kopečný, the government’s envoy for the reconstruction of Ukraine, says now is the time to talk about rebuilding damaged buildings, infrastructure or the country’s electricity grid.
“There are dozens of Czech companies that have been active in Ukraine for decades, before the Russian invasion. They want to maintain their positions on the market and respond to the country’s present needs. And then, there are literally hundreds of other companies operating in the energy, healthcare and transport sectors who want to participate in the country’s post war reconstruction. For security reasons we cannot take more than 30 companies’ representatives on this mission.”
During the mission these companies will be able to establish business contacts and present their projects directly to Ukrainian local governments. Because the Ukrainian municipalities are presently short of funds, the Czech government will be covering the cost of selected pilot projects, as Tomáš Kopečný explains.
“The vast majority of the partners we will be dealing with, whether it be state, regional or local authorities do not have the money needed to repair the enormous damages caused by the Russian aggression. So what we will do is the Czech government will finance some of these smaller pilot projects from its own budget and then once the firms are tried and tested they can bid for larger projects that will be financed by international funds - the World Bank, the European Development Bank, the United Nations or the European Commission.”
Tomáš Kopecný says the fact that Czechia has been providing assistance to the country since the war begun is a huge advantage, because it gives Czech companies something to build on. The aim of this mission he says, is not to sign contracts but to create projects for the future. Those projects can be far more ambitious because they will not be in the realm of a billion or half a billion Czech crowns as those approved by the Czech government but, billions of euros which will be channeled to the country for reconstruction by international institutions.