Economic and Political Overview

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In this page: Economic Outline | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response


Economic Outline

Economic Overview

On February 24th 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, which profoundly upsets the current political context in both countries and will have substantial political and economic ramifications. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

After years of political and economic tension, the Ukrainian economy had started to stabilise, but the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 and then Russia’s invasion in February 2022 pushed it in recession. After renewing with positive growth in 2021 (+3.4% GDP), Ukraine’s economy contracted by an estimated -35% GDP (IMF), due to massive infrastructure destruction, disruption of agriculture, industry and trade, large capital outflows and an exodus of workers (The Economist Intelligence Unit). The government called on Ukrainian citizens to resist and received international support but Russia’s determination suggests further escalation. In these circumstances, no GDP forecast is available for 2023.

In 2022, Ukraine’s economy was still recovering from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic when it suffered from the devastating attack from Russia. The IMF and the World Bank issued a join statement condemning the offensive and ensuring Ukraine for their support. The IMF responded to Ukraine’s request for emergency financing through a possible Rapid Financing Instrument; and the World Bank started to prepare a USD 3 billion package of support (including the mobilization of financing from several development partners) comprising fast-disbursing budget support operation and fast-disbursing support for health and education (IMF). The protracted war had a devastating social and economic impact on Ukraine. In addition tof numerous civilian casualties, over a third of the population has been displaced, access to basic needs such as electricity, water, and heating is at risk, and housing, infrastructure, and productive capacity suffered from massive destruction (IMF). The authorities managed to maintain macroeconomic and financial stability, but public finances are under extreme pressure (IMF). According to Coface data, the budget deficit soared from -4% GDP in 2021 to -23.9% GDP in 2022, and public debt rose from 50.7% GDP in 2021 to 80% GDP in 2022. Inflation increased from 9.4% in 2021 to 20.6% in 2022 (IMF), and could reach 28% in 2023 according to Ukrainian authorities forecast. In December 2022, the IMF approved a 4-month Program Monitoring with Board Involvement (PBM, the first arrangement of its kind), designed to help Ukraine maintain economic stability and catalyze donor financing amid very large balance of payment needs and exceptionally high risks (IMF). Key measures under the PMB include enhancing revenue mobilization and reviving the domestic debt market, preparing a financial sector strategy, and enhancing transparency and governance (IMF). Since Russia’s invasion, the government is focused on organising the resistance and gathering political and logistical support from the international community. Intended to help bring victory against Russia, Ukraine’s 2023 Budget planned a record deficit of USD 38 billion. It gives priority to the armed force and national security, and also covers pensions, healthcare and education. The U.S. 2023 budget also allocated USD 44.9 billion for aid to Ukraine.

Ukraine's unemployment rate was falling until 2019, but due to the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is estimated to have increased to 9.8% in 2021 and was forecast to stay high before the start of the war (IMF). The informal sector in Ukraine is estimated to account for a third of the country's GDP, and GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) is only 20% of the EU average. The human cost of the war with Russia is still unknown but already, hundred of civilians have been killed, hundreds of thousands refugees have fled the country, and supply chains disruption have triggered food shortages.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 156.57200.16151.50148.710.00
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.83.4-30.3-3.00.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 3,7804,8824,3494,6540
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -5.1-
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.548.881.798.30.0
Inflation Rate (%) 2.79.420.221.10.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 9.29.824.520.90.0
Current Account (billions USD) 5.17-3.258.60-6.530.00
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.3-1.65.7-4.40.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, Latest data available.

Note : (E) Estimated data


Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector plays a major role in Ukrainian economy. In 2021, it contributed to 10.6% of the GDP and employed 14% of the working population (World Bank). The main crops are cereals, sugar, meat and milk. Ukraine is the world's fifth largest exporter of grain. The European Union has reduced its customs duties on the agricultural areas of Ukraine, which could be a boon for this sector. The country is rich in mineral resources, mainly iron and magnesium, as well as in energy resources (coal and gas).
The secondary sector employs a quarter of the active population and accounts for 23.5% of the GDP (World Bank). The Ukrainian manufacturing sector is dominated by heavy industries such as iron (Ukraine is the world's seventh largest producer of iron) and steel. These two sectors alone account for around 30% of the industrial production. However, steel production is below its pre-2008 level. Coal mining, chemicals, mechanical products (aircraft, turbines, locomotives and tractors) and shipbuilding are also important sectors.
The service sector employs 61% of the workforce and contributes to 51.8% of the GDP (World Bank). Ukraine is a country of energy transit, historically transporting Russian and Caspian oil and gas to Western Europe and the Balkans, through its territory. However, in the context of tensions with Russia, Ukraine’s role as the main transit corridor has diminished, with Russia seeking alternative routes (to the south via Turkey and to the north via Germany). The transit contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy, which expired on December 31, 2019, has been extended for a period of five years, but in the context of the war, supplies have been greatly reduced.

After suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukrainian economic sectors were further hit by the consequences of Russia’s invasion. The massive infrastructure and facilities destructions, as well as mobilisation, disrupted activity.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 13.8 25.0 61.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 10.6 23.5 51.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) 14.4 2.6 3.1

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.


Find more information about your business sector on our service Market Reports.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Volodymyr Zelensky (since 20 May 2019)
Prime Minister: Denys Shmyhal (since 4 March 2020)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: March 2024
Supreme Council: July 2024
Current Political Context
On February 24th 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, which profoundly upsets the current political context in both countries and will have substantial political and economic ramifications. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

Since he was elected President in April 2019, former actor and television producer Volodymyr Zelensky promised to prioritise two issues highlighted during his campaign, corruption and the conflict in eastern Ukraine (Donbass). The absolute majority obtained at the legislative elections of July 2019 allowed him to launch a reform program but with many challenges, as illustrated by the political crisis that emerged in October 2020. A controversial ruling by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court cancelled key anti-corruption legislation, notably the requirement for government officials to file e-declarations of their assets. This led Ukraine's main donors, including the IMF, to suspend their funding. In its fight against corruption, President Zelensky suspended the country’s chief justice and removed judges from their offices, exceeding his powers and violating the Constitution. Voices expressed their concerns over the changing nature of his regime. However, in 2022, internal divisions were put aside and as Ukraine was united around the political and military goals to restore its territorial integrity and the legally recognised borders of 1991, Zelensky enjoyed broad popular support (Chatham House).

Indeed, the situation escalated considerably since the Russian and Ukrainian presidents met in Paris in December 2019 regarding the Donbass issue. A tripartite meeting between Ukraine, Russia and the EU took place in Minsk in December 2019, leading to the renewal for five years of the contract binding Gazprom and Naftogaz governing the transit of gas from Russia to the EU by Ukraine. However, Russia completed in mid-2021 the construction of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline project linking Russia and Germany and doubling the capacities of Nord Stream 1, which would cause revenue losses for Ukraine of around 3 billion USD per year. Germany warned that the pipeline would not be allowed to come into service in the event of a new escalation in Ukraine, and following Russia’s large scale military invasion of the country launched at the end of February 2022, Nord Stream 2 certification was withhold. Ukraine's government declared martial law, mobilised its armed forces and called on citizens to resist (The Economist Intelligence Unit). Western countries adopted an unprecedented range of sanctions against Russia and provided significant financial and humanitarian support, training and weapons to Ukraine. The recapture of Kherson in November was a major victory for Ukraine, that bolstered military and public morale. Russia responded to the setbacks by mobilizing additional troops and destroying Ukraine’s infrastructure. At the end of December 2022, Zelensky stepped up diplomacy over Russia’s invasion of his country, and managed to secure more funding and strategic arms. The decision of the USA, France and Germany to send battle tanks to Ukraine marked a new stage in the war, and more escalation from Russia can be expected.

Main Political Parties
Among the main parties represented in parliament stand:
- Servant of the people: founded in 2016 under the name of Party of decisive change, then renamed according to the comic television series whose main character is Volodymyr Zelensky
- Opposition platform - For life: pro-Russian, center
- Union Panukrainienne “Patrie”: center right
- Voice: founded in 2019 by singer Sviatoslav Vakartchouk, center-right
- Oleh Liachko Radical Party: right
- Strength and Honor: center right
Type of State
Ukraine is a parliamentary democracy.
Executive Power
The President is the head of state and is elected by universal suffrage for five years. He is the commander-in-chief of the army and it is he who appoints the Prime Minister - the head of government - once he has been appointed by Parliament, as leader of the party or of the majority coalition. The Prime Minister's term is five years. Executive power is shared between the President and the Prime Minister. The President chooses the Minister of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the other ministers of the Council are chosen by the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Ukraine is unicameral. The parliament called Supreme Council consists of 450 seats with its members chosen on a proportional basis from those parties that gain 3% or more of the national electoral vote; members serve five-year terms. The President has the power to dissolve the Supreme Council, if he so wishes. The people of Ukraine have limited political rights.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:
Civil Liberties:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Ukraine please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.


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Latest Update: September 2023