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Ukraine ‘Weeks' Away From Full IMF Support Program, Says Fund Chief

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  • The International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC Saturday that a fully-fledged support program for Ukraine is only "weeks" away.
  • "Time is not Ukraine's friend in these extraordinary conditions of war. We talk about a number of weeks, not a very long period of time," Georgieva said.
  • It comes hours after the IMF said Friday that it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine, paving the way for talks on a full loan program and furthering its bid to join the EU.

The International Monetary Fund is weeks away from finalizing a fully-fledged program of support for Ukraine, the fund's Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC Saturday.

This comes hours after the IMF said Friday that it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukrainian authorities, paving the path for talks on a full loan program that would support Kyiv's economy and further its bid to join the European Union. The plan is now subject to approval from IMF management.

"Time is not Ukraine's friend in these extraordinary conditions of war," Georgieva told CNBC's Hadley Gamble at the Munich Security Conference.

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"We talk about a number of weeks, not a very long period of time," she added when pressed on the timeline to implement the program.

Georgieva said that the UN financial agency was confident that Ukraine meets its requirements around fiscal policy, governance, anti-corruption and financial sector stability.

"We have a country where institutions work. Where pensions are paid. Where social services are in place. Where the government is keenly interested to continue to reform, even when bombs are falling," she noted.

The program comes at a crucial time for Ukraine, which approaches the first anniversary of Russia's invasion on Feb. 24. The IMF estimates that the country could require financial support in excess of $40 billion this year, even as Ukraine's economy is forecast to return to growth after a 30% contraction in 2022.

"Ukraine does need the IMF at this very critical time," Georgieva said. "Why? Because financial needs are significant: We put them somewhere between $40-48 billion for this year."

"And two, because the country does need the policy support that the IMF provides. To run a war economy is not a trivial matter," she added.

Accelerating Ukraine's road to EU accession

As well as supporting Ukraine's economy amid the conflict, Georgieva said that the reforms would also help "accelerate" Ukraine's efforts to eventually join the EU.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution calling to immediately grant candidate status for EU membership to Ukraine on Jun. 23, 2022. The European Council gave the country candidate accession status to the EU on the same day.

"We make the desire of Ukraine to join the European Union a priority in our work," Georgieva said Saturday.

"They belong there," she added. "And the Fund, of course, can help them move faster on that road."

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