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Ukraine IT industry calls for government action to protect sector

Karl Flinders

The Ukrainian IT industry has set out a list of actions the new national government should take to protect the sector amid political turmoil.

Torban Majgaard, CEO at IT services firm Ciklum, has written a heartfelt letter to Ukraine’s economy minister Pavlo Sheremeta, calling for united action to ensure the IT industry in the country emerges from the turmoil stronger.

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He called for the Ukrainian government and IT sector to meet to agree how to take the industry forward. He warned that foreign investment in the Ukraine is low.

“The IT industry can and should be the strategic locomotive driving the Ukraine into the knowledge-based economy,” said Majgaard in the letter. 

He warned that Ciklum has concerned customers from overseas as the political trouble unfolded but said the IT industry will show that Ukraine is a safe place to invest and confidence will return.

He said despite the trouble Ukrainians have continued to work as normally as possible: “This month has been emotional and some may say crazy. Everybody watching the news have been worried and some even scared, but I think we are forgetting something here. Despite everything we have seen and experienced, Ukrainians went to work.“

“Some of our customers have expressed concerns about reliability of IT in Ukraine as a partner, but the employees in the IT industry did not miss a day of work,’ said Majgaard.

“We have seen companies pulling out of Ukraine and companies cancelling their decisions to start business here. I think that we should recognise that despite everything that was thrown at us during the last month, services to customers were delivered as scheduled.”

In the letter Majgaard calls for three actions from the government.

“Join with our industry in sending a message to the world, a strong message, that Parliament is strongly committed to the growth and further advancement of the IT industry in Ukraine. That Parliament will, together with the IT Industry, invest to make Ukraine stronger, and that companies looking for software development should come here and work with us. This will help improve global market confidence in Ukraine," he said.

“Commit to working together with the IT industry to raise funds for investing into the Ukrainian education system, especially universities. We must find $1bn, we see that Europe and the US wants to support us financially, let’s work together to secure this funding and channel that towards improving the quality of education, the availability of equipment, as well as the expansion of the education system’s capacity. In this way, over the coming years, we will get tens of thousands of well-educated software development professionals joining the industry," he wrote.

"Assign permanent responsibility for enacting this vision to a specific department or ministry within the government in order to ensure this engine for economic growth in the new Ukraine is given due attention.”

Majgaard  added that the Ukrainian IT sector is prepared to do its bit by making sure that every single person qualifying as a software development professional gets a job; investing further in sales and marketing to attract customers; and investing in properties and staff to make IT suppliers better best employers.

Political unrest has been a perceived risk in the Ukraine for a number of years. Speaking to Computer Weekly in 2011 Michael Borg-Hansen, Danish Ambassador in the Ukraine at the time, said political change was brewing. "I wouldn't exclude the possibility of social unrest, similar to what happened in North Africa and the Middle East - those situations are being watched very carefully by the government here," he said at the time.


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