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|Partnerships with Canadians||1.31|
Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe, with a population of more than 45 million, has close and longstanding ties to Canada.
Between 2000 and 2007, Ukraine enjoyed strong economic growth, averaging 7.5 percent annually. The country is now considered a fully functioning market economy, having privatized its land and assets and become a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the global economic crisis in 2008 hit Ukraine harder than most other east European countries due to its dependency on steel and iron ore industries, as well as its vulnerabilities in its financial and banking sectors.
Ukraine has outlined its priorities for development, setting out an extensive plan for reform in such areas as:
Poverty reduction remains among Ukraine's top development priorities. The government recognizes that to reduce poverty means improving the business-enabling environment and increasing the competitiveness of Ukrainian firms. The economic downturn underlined further the need to diversify the economy and stimulate productivity and innovation in key sectors, including agriculture.
The goal of CIDA's program in Ukraine is to improve economic opportunities for Ukrainians in a strengthened democracy. CIDA worked with Ukraine to establish a central voter registry to improve election laws. An independent judiciary and active opposition are vital components of an effective democracy and Canada will continue to support Ukrainian efforts towards a free, democratic and prosperous society.
Canada is working with the Government of Ukraine to assist with the reforms needed to realize the country's full economic potential and build a sound public institutional and legal environment for closer integration with Europe.
CIDA focuses on improving the business-enabling environment, restoring confidence in financial institutions, and increasing the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises by diversifying skills and increasing access to credit. CIDA also supports economic growth through interventions aimed at strengthening public institutions built on the rule of law and accountability. Increased attention will be paid to judicial and civil service reforms and local governance, as well as commercial and other courts involved in resolving commercial and business-related matters.
CIDA is supporting food security, placing an emphasis on sustainable agricultural programs and thereby adding to Ukraine's already strong position to contribute to redressing the global food security crisis. CIDA's involvement in agriculture is strongly encouraged by the Ukrainian government as a means to address rural poverty, particularly since there are few donors working in that area. Attention will be given to increasing net exports of grains and select commodities while promoting the use of environmentally friendly practices and norms.
Canada is the fourth largest bilateral donor in Ukraine. CIDA will continue to build Ukraine's capacity to engage in donor coordination by encouraging joint monitoring of projects and playing an active role in several donor working groups.
Canada has developed a reputation as a trusted partner in governance and private sector development and has become a leader in building capacity and transferring best practices, which are now being emulated by other donors.
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