UKRAINE OVERVIEW

Ukraine, which was once behind the iron curtain and which evoked a lot of interest, tourist and otherwise, is now open to the world at large. In Ukraine one sees it’s magnificent and glorious past come alive through its monuments, museums, churches and cathedrals. In fact, Kyiv/Kiev, the capital of Ukraine has been compared to Rome, the eternal city, by Honore de Balzac, a famous French novelist. However, Ukrainians do not live in the past, but in fact have a bold and vibrant lifestyle which is comparable to that of any other European nation. Ukraine, in Eastern Europe is one of Europe’s largest countries, with a land area of 603,700 sq. km. The capital of Ukraine is Kiev. Its neighbour in the east is the

Russian Federation and Belarus lies to the north of Ukraine. Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania share Ukraine’s border to the west and to the south of Ukraine lies the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine is divided into twenty four regions called oblasts, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol. Each of these is a separate administrative unit and, other than Crimea, has a governor who is appointed by the President. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea, though subordinate to the central government of Ukraine, has its own government, parliament and constitution.

Its population stood at 46.6 million people. Ukraine’s urban population is 67.2%, while its rural population is 32.8%, making it an urban country. The Donetsk region has the highest population density while Chernihiv has the lowest.

The ethnicity or race of this population is mainly Ukrainian (77.8%), next is Russian (17.3%) and the rest are Belorussian, Moldovan, Crimean, Tartar, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish and Jewish. Ukrainian is the official language of the country; however a sizeable population also speaks Russian. The religions practised in Ukraine are Ukrainian Orthodox, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox, Protestant and Jewish; however a large part of the population does not practise any religion.

Ukraine holds a place among the thirty largest world economies. Initially after breaking away from the Soviet Union, there were some teething problems and the inflation level was phenomenally high. However, prices stabilised with the introduction of hryvnia, Ukraine’s new currency.

In 2006, the annual inflation rate in Ukraine was 9.1%. It showed a decrease of 1.2% from 2005. Growth in GDP in 2006 was 7.1% and all key industries showed a positive trend in industrial output. The major growth however, was from industries dealing with transport, mining industry, manufacturing industry, etc. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) per capita in 2006 was 462 USD. FDI came from 118 companies of which the major players were Germany, Austria, USA, UK and Russian Federation.

Ukraine boasts of a mild climate, is rich in natural resources and has a favourable geographical location. It has a good consumer market, an educated labour force, a well developed transport infrastructure and a highly developed base for scientific research and development. Over the last five years, Ukraine has seen a steady increase in its economic growth and hence makes an ideal country to invest in.

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