By Enoh T. Ebong, Director, USTDA
This week, USTDA is pleased to host 20 senior Ukrainian officials who will help guide their country’s reconstruction efforts. The goal of this visit is to build partnerships with U.S. financiers, suppliers, and regulatory and policy experts, with the goal of sharing knowledge and supporting our partners’ efforts to find solutions for the unprecedented challenges that they face.
As we talk about Ukraine’s economic reconstruction and transformation, there are three specific areas that will be critical to the successful implementation of the country’s infrastructure.
These are: high-quality project preparation, trusted partnerships, and procurement systems that focus on best value over lowest cost.
The challenges associated with the reconstruction of Ukraine’s energy, transportation and digital infrastructure will be vast. At USTDA, we believe that a starting point for addressing these challenges will be high-quality project preparation.
The institutions that fund infrastructure require assurance that the technical and financial analyses that they receive are accurate and reliable. Their standards are high and costly to meet, which is understandable when you consider that they will invest tens or hundreds of millions of dollars into just one project. This presents a challenge because of the relative scarcity of resources for project preparation, which can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars per project.
USTDA has funded more than 40 activities to support Ukraine’s infrastructure development. This includes ongoing technical assistance to help plan the deployment of U.S. small modular reactor, or “SMR,” technology to the country. The U.S. company NuScale Power, LLC, which designs SMR power plants, is carrying out the assistance, which includes a licensing gap analysis that will be among the first steps toward introducing NuScale’s technology to the country.
This is just one example of the kind of partnership that will comprise USTDA’s programming strategy for Ukraine. Partnerships build stakeholders, and the right stakeholders will help increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for Ukraine’s priorities.
In addition to project preparation and partnership-building, an often unspoken or underappreciated component of developing high-quality infrastructure is procurement. Strong public procurement practices that emphasize value-for-money and quality lead to infrastructure that is more resilient, sustainable, and efficient. This will help maximize the long-term impact of reconstruction funds.
Over the past 30 years, USTDA’s partner countries have turned to us to support their most ambitious goals and overcome the most unimaginable challenges.
This includes Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haiti, Iraq, the countries impacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and the countries recovering from COVID-19.
We have applied our combination of tools to address some of the most pressing global development and geopolitical issues of the day.
The enduring, generational nature of our work has allowed our partners to meet their most pressing needs while building resilience for the future.
In Ukraine, we look forward to leveraging our decades of determined progress to address the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and to witness Ukraine emerge stronger than ever.