Ukraine is an Eastern European country that borders the Black Sea, Poland, Romania, and Moldova. It occupies 603,550 sq. km, making it slightly smaller than the state of Texas. It has a total population of 44.57 million, shrinking at a rate of -0.63%. Its largest city and capital, Kyiv, has a population of 2.779 million, and other major cities include Kharkiv (1.455 million), Dnipropetrovsk (1.013 million) and Odesa (1.009 million). A former Soviet republic, it is currently ruled by an independent republic that governs a population that is 77% native Ukrainian with a 17% Russian population. The official language is Ukrainian, with Russian also spoken by a large portion of the population. The currency used is the Ukrainian Hryvna.
Once the second-most economically productive republic of the former Soviet Union (after Russia), Ukraine had a substantial agricultural output and thriving heavy industry sector during the Soviet period. However, total output plummeted after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, to the point where 1999 output was at 40% of 1991 output. The Ukrainian economy was vulnerable to external shocks and relied on Russia for its energy supplies. The IMF continues to encourage economic reform in Ukraine. Agreements between Russia and Ukraine for the transport of gas through Ukrainian pipelines to the rest of Europe only marginally benefit the Ukrainian economy, but high prices for steel (Ukraine’s top export) and increased consumption (with higher wages and pensions) drove GDP growth between 2006 and 2008. Other exports include heavy machinery and food, and Ukraine primarily trades with Russia and Turkey. However, falling steel prices and Ukraine’s exposure to the global financial crisis made the economy shrink more than 15% during the global economic crisis, and Ukraine’s was one of the worst-performing economies in the world during that time. Increased exports created growth again in 2010, but external economic conditions are likely to dampen growth in the near future.
* CPI Score is published by Transparency International and relates to the perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).
**Ease of Doing Business Ranking is determined by the World Bank Group and is ranked out of a possible 185 countries. www.doingbusiness.org
Most recent statistics have been taken from the CIA World Factbook unless noted otherwise.