UKRAINE: Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest recently pledged financial support of nearly $740m to a global investment fund intended for reconstructing war-torn Ukraine.
The monetary support by Forrest and President Volodymyr Zelensky will ensure that the fund would restore the country to become “the fastest growing economy in Europe, if not the world.”
The “Ukraine Green Growth Initiative,” which aimed to amount to US $100bn, is seeking global investment in energy and telecommunications infrastructure.
This move is taken to transform Ukraine from a vulnerable, war-stricken nation to a powerhouse of state-of-the-art technology and a “digital green economy” in recovering from the Russian war.
Zelensky spoke on the matter and put out a statement on Thursday: “Andrew and I have agreed we will not replace communist-era rubbish Russian infrastructure, instead we will leapfrog to the latest technology.”
“We will take advantage of the fact that what the Russians have destroyed can readily be replaced with the latest, most modern green and digital infrastructure,” he added.
Forrest is the founder of Fortescue Metals and has currently been in talks with governments in Ukraine, Australia, the US, and Britain, along with the OECD and members of the international business community, including the investment firm BlackRock.
Forrest’s contribution would mainly emerge from the Tattaran group, the investment company headed and operated by his wife and fellow business tycoon Nicola.
“I invite professional investors, fund managers, and sovereign funds and all who believe invading another country should now be forever consigned to the historical garbage bin of humanity’s worst mistakes to join us,” Forrest said in a statement.
This week, Russia launched a series of missiles targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure.
One of the missiles killed two people in south-eastern Poland, prompting Polish president Andrzej Duda to say it is “highly probable that it was fired by Ukrainian anti-aircraft defence” and “unfortunately fell on Polish territory”.
Forrest aims to usher in a new “golden age” for Ukrainian technology and infrastructure, almost echoing the famous 1948 Marshall plan, which provided American post-war assistance to help rebuild Europe in the wake of the Second World war.
“The whole world can see how Russia, unable to win on the battlefield, terrorises civil infrastructure. The price of reconstruction is growing with each new strike,” Zelensky said.
“One day, the aggressor will pay for everything in full, but our people cannot wait for electricity and heat for months. We need to restore Ukraine now! That is why this project is so timely.”
“This innovative initiative will facilitate the world’s first green digital economy and the fastest growing economy in Europe, if not the world.”
Forrest met with ABC’s Radio National for an interview where he cited the historical examples of economic miracles from Germany to Japan post WWII, indicating that “Ukraine will have it faster”.
“From sovereign funds to professional investors, institutions worldwide and in Australia, this would be a good investment.”