Ukraine War: Australian Billionaire Launches $25bn Fund For Reconstruction, Commits $500m

Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has launched an investment fund that is hoped will be worth at least $25bn (£21bn) to help rebuild war-torn Ukraine.

Mr Forrest and his wife have committed $500m to the fund, which its organisers say could eventually grow to $100bn.

The Ukraine Green Growth Initiative plans to invest in primary infrastructure such as energy and telecoms networks.

President Zelensky welcomed the move.

“We will take advantage of the fact that what the Russians have destroyed can readily be replaced with the latest, most modern green and digital infrastructure,” Mr Zelensky said.

The fund said it had been working with Larry Fink, the chairman of investment giant BlackRock, and hopes to gain the support of sovereign wealth funds and other professional investors.

Since starting work on the investment fund in early March, Mr Forrest said he had discussed the plan with a number of world leaders including US President Joe Biden, then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“The president [Zelensky] sees that as an opportunity to completely replace old coal-fired [and] nuclear power stations with brand new green energy,” Mr Forrest told the BBC.

“That capital would be available the instant that the Russian forces have been removed from the homelands of Ukraine,” he added.

Mr Forrest made his fortune from Australia’s mining boom. He is the founder and executive chairman of iron ore giant Fortescue Metals.

In recent years he has turned his attention to sustainable technology, with initiatives to decarbonise his mining operations and become a major producer of green hydrogen.

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