From the renovation of 756 local welfare offices and the modernization of the Dnipro hydropower cascade to the rehabilitation of the Kyiv-Kharkiv M3 road, the World Bank is supporting concrete development results for the people of Ukraine.
Highlights of Bank projects include:
Expanding the Ukrainian Power Transmission Grid
Ukraine has one of the largest power transmission systems in Europe, and one of the oldest. Over two thirds of the country's almost 30,000 km of transmission lines and 132 substations have exceeded their expected lifespan. Working with the World Bank, the state-owned UkrEnergo is modernizing its assets to make its grid transmit more power while wasting less in the process.
Under the project, UkrEnergo will rehabilitate seven substations in various regions of the country, helping to reduce energy losses by about 33 GWh per year and decreasing maintenance and repair costs by about US$ 800,000 a year. Since a typical 25-story office building consumes 5 GWh per year, the savings are equal to the power used by seven skyscrapers in a large city.
If modernization in the energy sector succeeds, Ukraine's electricity grid will be a reliable part of the European grid. That will give Ukraine more opportunities to have income from Western European markets, where the price of electricity is higher than in Ukraine.
Safer and Cleaner Power from Ukraine’s Hydroelectric Plants
Hydroelectric stations provide electricity, drinking water, and protect millions of people from possible floods. For that reason, most hydropower stations in Ukraine have been built in densely populated areas, with each reservoir holding millions of cubic meters of water that needs to be controlled.
Unfortunately, not all dams are adequately maintained. With support from the World Bank's Hydropower Rehabilitation Project, UkrHydroEnergo, which manages the Ukrainian power grid, is increasing the safety and efficiency of its hydroelectric plants, as well as their capacity. The state-owned company operates nine hydroelectric stations on the Dnieper and Dniester rivers with a total capacity of 3,900 megawatts.
Working closely with ecologists, plant engineers regulate the levels of water in reservoirs, since every artificial lake provides drinking water to thousands of cities and villages, and is also used for irrigation—both in Ukraine, and in neighboring Moldova. When modernized, the hydropower stations will significantly improve their reputation as green and renewable energy sources, with low levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
Efficiency is important, too. About 50 new turbines have been replaced at nine hydroelectric plants.
Kiev: Bringing an Ancient City into the Future
One of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, Kiev was founded on one of the ancient world's most important trade routes, running from the Baltic region south to what is now Turkey. Kiev's leaders hope to use the city's historic culture and stately old buildings to invigorate its future. The idea is to build a new modern city on top of an ancient one, bringing the best of both together.
Supported by the World Bank with a grant from the Cities Alliance and their partners, the Kiev City Development Strategy aims to make Kiev a livable, healthy city with ample green space by reducing traffic and congestion, building bike routes and promoting energy efficiency. Urban leaders also want to attract new businesses and encourage young workers to invest in the city. And since Ukraine allows visa-free entrance for citizens of both Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the city could become an ideal destination for international businesses and organizations.
Another part of the city strategy focuses on raising public and private investments in health care, and promoting healthy living. A long-term goal is to increase longevity of the Ukrainian people by at least 10 years.
Ukraine's Social Safety Net Works Better to Serve the Neediest
The Ukrainian social safety net is going through radical changes in order to better serve beneficiaries. In 2006, Ukraine's Government, with the assistance from the World Bank, started to modernize the system by training staff at 756 local welfare offices and equipping them with modern computer systems.
The guiding principle is the one-stop-shop. Individuals can get all the benefits they qualify for in a single application and by providing one package of documents. At their first visit to a welfare office, applicants are informed of all the documents they will need to collect. Once they have filled out and handed in the paperwork, they receive their benefits from the local welfare office within 10 days.
This new business model has been developed and implemented in nearly all of the 756 local welfare offices in the country. Over 90 percent of welfare offices have been refurbished and modernized. Better management information systems have reduced the time needed to process new applications for benefits from over four hours to under two, allowing staff to process more benefits every month.