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Ukraine civil service, gutted by war, needs training blitz in project appraisal and procurement, OECD small business director says

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, director of OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs (OECD Photo)

Ukraine Rebuild Newswire Staff (Sept 7, 2023)

Ukrainian civil servants will need intense national training in project appraisal, procurement and other areas to help carry out the expected massive reconstruction campaign to follow the war, a senior official for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

The fight against Russia has sapped Ukraine’s civil service of skills needed to manage the reconstruction, which has already started but will pick up pace when the war ends, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, director of the OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities, wrote in the FT. She said 6,500 civil servants have either left the country or joined the military struggle since the war began.

“There will need to be significant investment in the training of regional and municipal public servants in project appraisal, procurement, investment management and transparency,” she wrote. “Building this expertise will be especially important in smaller towns and rural communities where more limited capacity risks undermining their ability to apply for and secure funds from the national government and international donors.”

Kamal-Chaoui suggested a “train-the-trainer” program would “support a skilled network of municipal trainers who can ‘upskill’ local officials to deliver infrastructure projects.”

She repeatedly stressed the importance of regional and municipal government officials to the success of the reconstruction campaign, saying that “local knowledge will be critical in guiding a successful reconstruction effort.

“Subnational governments should have a seat at the table in national planning bodies — for example through representation at the National Recovery Council,” she said. “They should also be granted a leading role in designing and implementing reconstruction projects, backed by sufficient funds.”

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