Now that a year has passed since former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign Ukraine's EU Association Agreement, which began the protests in Maidan Square in Ukraine, the dust from the conflict is beginning to settle allowing speculation regarding the outlook of the nation's rebuilding economy. Now that current President Petro Poroshenko has signed the agreement, many economists are pointing towards rapid growth in the country's tech sector as a sign that clear skies are ahead for the European-aligned new Ukraine. In spite of this, crippling corruption and a brain drain are also casting doubts over Ukraine's foreseeable future.
Since signing the agreement in June, Ukraine's tech sector has proven its resiliency through its growth despite the threat of Russian invasions. The EU Association Agreement called for a free trade area in the next decade, steps towards visa-free travel, and Ukraine to adopt EU regulations and standards, which have benefited the growing sector due to fewer trade tariffs for jump-starting the economy via exportation of hardware and software goods. The freedom of movement that comes from joining the EU will also greatly benefit the Ukrainian economy, seeing as entrepreneurs currently face lengthy visa applications in order to travel for business. The most beneficial contribution to Ukraine's current IT revival, however, is that foreign investment from the EU and Russia seems undeterred by the instability in Kiev and civil war in the east of the country.
On the other hand, corruption and a brain drain continue to take their toll on the country's economic aspirations. Corruption in Ukraine has greatly affected the ease in obtaining permits and licenses, opening a catalog of applications for registering intellectual property rights, and permitting Ukrainian nationals to open companies and bank accounts abroad without a license from the National Bank of Ukraine. The shortage of about 900,000 unfilled IT jobs around Europe has also led to a drain of Ukraine's young tech professionals. Ukraine's legal system also does not provide ample protection for its upstart IT firms, which has caused many companies to register in U.S. states like Delaware or Nevada.
All in all, the current optimism in Ukraine dominates its current economic speculation from within the country. A healthy relationship with the EU should enable the steady resolution of many of the country's corruption issues due to the EU's tight legal standards. Many Ukrainians view their country as a "sleeping IT tiger," and they are steadfast in their beliefs that closer ties with Europe in the new Ukraine will enable this economic tiger to make a commanding presence in the jungle of the future global economy.