Nasdaq signs technical assistance agreement with Ukraine, USAID says

By Thomson Reuters Feb 12, 2024 | 10:02 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Exchange operator Nasdaq has signed a partnership agreement with the Ukrainian government aimed at supporting the development of Ukrainian capital markets, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said on Monday.

USAID, which has helped Ukraine match foreign investors with Ukrainian companies, said the memorandum of understanding called for Nasdaq to provide a range of technical assistance to the government of Ukraine as it gears up to open a new International Finance Center and develops Ukrainian capital markets.

“This new partnership between Nasdaq and the Government of Ukraine demonstrates that Ukraine is open for business, even as they continue to fight for their freedom,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power said in a statement.

She said investors were demonstrating their confidence in Ukraine’s future, with some $4.1 billion in foreign direct investment entering the country in the first three quarters of 2023. Full-year data was not immediately available.

“This partnership further underscores the attractive investment opportunities Ukraine offers. We welcome Nasdaq’s commitment to support the development of Ukrainian capital markets, which will be critical in the recovery effort.”

The agreement was to be signed online on Monday by Ed Knight, executive vice chairman of Nasdaq and Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko, a USAID spokesperson said.

Under the deal, Nasdaq will advise the Ukrainian government on regulation and governance practices of public companies, promote entrepreneurship among Ukrainians through workshops and training, and advance capital formation for Ukrainian companies, including providing education about and assistance with listing on Nasdaq’s U.S. and European markets.

The agreement could pave the way for future listing of Ukrainian companies on U.S. and European exchanges, but that will require separate approval by U.S. securities regulators.

USAID said the signing was an important part of U.S. efforts to help Ukraine become more self-sufficient and lay the groundwork for strong growth that is “thoroughly integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions.”

No comment was immediately available from Nasdaq or the Ukrainian government.

USAID helped facilitate the deal by working with the private sector to address needs in Ukraine. It previously helped broker the donation of laptops and software for Ukrainian students and teachers by large U.S. companies, and the donation of drones to help Ukraine detect and document war crimes.

USAID also partners with the private sector to support Ukrainian grain production and export, and so far it has mobilized more than $250 million in private sector agricultural partnerships, including investments in seed production.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)