Ukraine is seeing an exodus of foreign students, and revenue | Business and Economy News

Bengaluru, India – A drumbeat of explosions performed out within the background as Azam Hassan defined over the telephone how he felt like he was dwelling the lyrics of the Eagles basic, Lodge California. “It’s just like the track goes,” he mentioned. “You’ll be able to try any time you need, however you’ll be able to by no means go away.”

The 23-year-old from Morocco is a pupil at Kharkiv Nationwide Medical College, a crown jewel amongst Ukraine’s greater instructional establishments that in recent times have confirmed a magnet for abroad college students – particularly of drugs – due to aggressive advertising and low charges. However Kharkiv, the nation’s second-biggest metropolis, is now witnessing among the most intense battles between Ukraine’s troopers and invading Russian forces.

Hassan has twice tried to flee from the struggle zone on buses organized by native operators, just for the automobiles to be ordered again. The highways outdoors Kharkiv are too harmful for journey amid Russian bombardment, the Ukrainian army informed these making an attempt to depart.

So Hassan sat huddled with lots of of different overseas college students within the metropolis’s underground metro, which is doubling as a bomb shelter, as he spoke to Al Jazeera. He doesn’t know when he’ll be capable to get out of Ukraine and get again to his household in Fez. However he’s clear about one factor. “No matter occurs, I’m not coming again,” he mentioned.

Vital income

Ukraine’s sovereignty is at stake. But even when the nation’s resistance manages to carry off the Russian assault, an essential financial engine would possibly battle to get better: Higher recognized for its export of wheat and corn, this nation additionally earns important income from overseas college students.

In actual fact, worldwide college students contribute a better chunk of Ukraine’s GDP than they do America’s, although the US is the world’s prime vacation spot for overseas schooling. Based on the Ukrainian authorities, 76,548 worldwide college students from 155 nations are enrolled on the nation’s universities. India sends greater than 18,000 – or practically 1 / 4 – of these college students, adopted by Morocco, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, China and Turkey.

Analysis by Ukraine’s ministry of schooling and science in late 2020 confirmed that worldwide college students on common every spend greater than $7,000 a yr. Which means the at present enrolled overseas college students deliver $542m in income to the nation – which has a GDP of $155bn – or greater than $3 of each $1,000. By comparability, worldwide college students contributed $28.4bn to the US economic system of $21 trillion in 2020-2021 – or lower than $1.5 of each $1,000.


However with the struggle intensifying, many countries have requested their college students to depart the nation. Others will not be ready for official authorities recommendation. With college students fleeing, Ukraine dangers bleeding this income, mentioned Anatoly Oleksiyenko, director of Hong Kong College’s Comparative Training Analysis Centre and a number one Ukrainian scholar on post-Soviet schooling methods, in an interview with Al Jazeera. To mitigate these losses, he mentioned, the nation’s universities should adapt quick “to maneuver the educational processes on-line, and make the entire instructional admissions, participation and progress extra versatile.”

That’s attainable, as many Ukrainian universities already made the shift to hybrid lessons in the course of the pandemic, Oleksiyenko identified. However Ukrainian authorities information means that tuition charges represent lower than half of the income the nation earns from overseas college students. The remaining – what college students spend whereas in Ukraine – won’t be recovered by means of distant lessons. There are additionally sensible limitations to instructing medication on-line. “How will we observe surgical procedure on-line, sitting at dwelling far-off from our college labs?” requested Hassan.

Certainly, the low charges are a serious draw for worldwide college students, mentioned Yukti Belwal, co-founder of BookMyUniversity, an Indian schooling consulting agency that has helped ship dozens of scholars to Ukraine. The annual price in a prime Ukrainian medical college, about $4,000, is lower than half of what a comparable non-public college in India or the US would cost. “Among the greatest universities of the previous Soviet Union are in Ukraine,” Belwal informed Al Jazeera. “And so they’re inexpensive.”

However Ukraine’s success in attracting college students, particularly from growing nations, is just not solely about low-cost schooling. Over the previous three years, the nation has made a concerted effort to advertise its universities overseas, mentioned Oleksiyenko, organising the Ukrainian State Centre for Worldwide Training, tasked with attracting overseas college students.

“The Ukrainian authorities took a proactive strategy,” Oleksiyenko mentioned. “The best way they approached it – to determine it as an enterprise quite than a cultural entity – signifies that the federal government was pursuing the income technology technique significantly.”

Ukrainian college deans have been visiting India and different main supply international locations in recent times, making an attempt to nudge potential college students in the direction of their medical colleges, mentioned Belwal.

‘Dying in school’

Now these positive aspects may unravel. Whereas Ukraine’s economic system as an entire has taken successful, its greater schooling sector is especially weak – partly due to geography. Most of the nation’s prime universities – the VN Karazin Kharkiv Nationwide College and the Kharkiv Nationwide Medical College are the most well-liked amongst overseas college students – are in jap Ukraine, which has borne the brunt of Russia’s invasion. “The opportunity of dying in school is the very last thing in your thoughts once you apply to a college,” Vishnu Mohan, an Indian pupil caught in Kharkiv, informed Al Jazeera, including that he didn’t suppose it probably that he would return if he managed to get out safely.

As international locations like India struggled to evacuate their residents, movies of harrowing experiences – college students begging their authorities for assist or getting thrashed on the Ukraine-Poland border – have gone viral on social media. Households contemplating sending their youngsters overseas for research won’t neglect that simply.

Belwal, who’s at present in Georgia, mentioned her telephone has been ringing nonstop. “Mother and father are so determined, so anxious about their youngsters,” she mentioned. She organised two chartered planes to get college students out of Ukraine earlier than the nation closed its airspace to civilian plane final week. The Indian authorities, she mentioned, was merely not doing sufficient to assist college students. “They have been too late to reply, after which too gradual,” she mentioned.

To make certain, Ukraine and its greater schooling business will not be completely unfamiliar with crises. In 2014, Russia’s annexation of Crimea led to a lack of income from universities in that area.

Overseas college students in different elements of Ukraine have been involved too, mentioned Belwal, although they have been quickly reassured as a result of the remainder of the nation stayed peaceable.

This time, there isn’t any peace anyplace in Ukraine. Universities don’t know what the longer term holds for them or their nation. Some specialists stay optimistic that, ultimately, Ukraine will as soon as once more regain its spot as a well-liked vacation spot for overseas college students.

Its universities may additionally try to diversify their market by partnering with American and European establishments for joint levels and packages, Oleksiyenko mentioned.

However none of that may change Hassan’s thoughts, he insisted. He has already checked out, and is just ready to depart. For good.

Investors seeking to offload Russian assets have a tough task | Business and Economy News

Traders in search of to dump holdings in Russian property will discover that the precise unwinding might be a fancy and doubtlessly costly endeavor.

A rising variety of establishments are rethinking their portfolios within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Norway stated it’s eradicating Russian property from its $1.3 trillion wealth fund, whereas U.Okay. oil big BP Plc is trying to offload its stake in Rosneft PJSC.

However promoting shares within the open market and discovering consumers for these investments received’t be simple, given a dramatic enhance in sanctions which have turned Russia right into a political and financial pariah.

Listed here are a few of the complexities — and doable losses — that traders might want to think about in the event that they wish to observe by.

1. Accelerated Choices

Huge traders and company shareholders usually decide to promote a bit of shares in an accelerated placement after markets shut. These transactions are usually underwritten by banks, who purchase the stake and supply it on the open market and tackle the danger of the disposal.

Russia’s ban on foreigners promoting Russian securities through home banks guidelines them out as underwriters, whereas sanctions and compliance points preclude western establishments from stepping in.

“It’s not clear whether or not Western funding banks can be prepared to get entangled or whether or not they would want to be seen to take charges from enterprise in Russian-related securities,” stated Russ Mould, funding director at AJ Bell Plc, additionally noting the dearth of urge for food for these shares.

Bernard Looney, chief executive officer of BP Plc standing for a photoBP Plc, below CEO Bernard Looney (pictured), will offload its stake in Rosneft  [File: Jason Alden/Bloomberg]

2. Discovering Consumers

For big stakes, shareholders in Russian corporations might attempt to discover a purchaser prepared to take over the holding wholesale. Sellers might attempt to enchantment to traders in Asia, however this is able to carry its personal political danger.

“There are potential long-term penalties of promoting property to the Chinese language, particularly if it means lesser Western publicity to or management or affect over commodities,” stated Mould.

And the crippling worldwide sanctions are making Russian property financially unattractive, even at steep reductions, that means that Chinese language traders might not wish to danger the political headache both.

“There may be at all times the query of how the Chinese language will place themselves,” stated Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote. “From the angle of enterprise profitability, there isn’t any cause and therefore there ought to be no urge for food for Chinese language traders to purchase Russian property.”

3. A Gradual Drip

Sellers might attempt to slowly drip their holdings of Russian shares into fairness markets over an extended interval. Whereas spreading out the disposal would possibly assist ease strain, holders run the danger of reputational injury in the event that they cling on to their investments for an prolonged time period.

“Institutional consumers, particularly with ESG or sanction-related restrictions probably received’t be capable of purchase and don’t have any intention to take action,” stated Oliver Scharping, a portfolio supervisor at Bantleon. There could also be some consumers from small hedge funds or household places of work, the place time horizons are lengthy sufficient, he added.

4. Unlikely Consumers

In an ironic twist, Russian traders might transform the obvious consumers for some property.

However there are large obstacles that make transacting virtually unattainable within the quick time period. Inventory buying and selling on the native bourse was canceled, whereas the ruble plunged to an all-time low on Monday. This implies shopping for world depositary receipts of Russian shares being traded on exchanges corresponding to London has additionally turn into prohibitively costly for Moscow-based portfolio managers.

Russian corporations’ London-listed depositary receipts corresponding to lender Sberbank of Russia PJSC, retailer Magnit PJSC, vitality agency Gazprom PJSC catered in U.Okay. buying and selling.

5. Taking The Hit

BP has warned that it might take a writedown of as a lot as $25 billion from exiting Russia, as discovering a purchaser for its 20% stake in Rosneft might be very difficult. Shell Plc is exiting its Russian fuel ventures, together with an enormous liquefied pure fuel facility.

Different corporations with important investments in Russia might decide to cut back the worth of their holdings to zero.

Another sellers are struggling to dump their shares. Abrdn has been left unable to promote its 5 million-pound ($6.7 million) Rosneft shareholding amid restrictions on international share trades on Moscow’s inventory alternate, Sky Information reported, with out saying the way it obtained the knowledge. A consultant for the funding firm declined to remark.

TotalEnergies SE’s has operations in Russia representing about $1.5 billion of its whole money stream, or round 5%. It has a stake in fuel producer Novatek in addition to a big curiosity within the Yamal LNG challenge. Chevron Corp. and Exxon Corp. have a presence in lubricants

“It’ll be tough to discover a purchaser with Russia gaining pariah standing among the many worldwide neighborhood,” Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc, stated of BP’s deliberate retreat.

“For now, a really hefty writedown is prone to stay the principle plan of action,” she stated.

Across the US, CBD glut inspires gamble on industrial hemp | Business and Economy

All of it started in 2019. Travis Samuels and Brandon McFarlane, cousins in america state of Vermont, had grown newly legalised hemp to provide CBD. Also referred to as cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical derived from hemp, and marketed for its potential well being advantages.

However as soon as the ban on rising hemp was lifted, the market turned flooded with the CBD number of the plant. A number of acres price of Samuels and McFarlane’s crop sat unsold of their barn in Vermont. That’s after they started to consider the untapped marketplace for one other number of hemp, the stalky fibre that in contrast to the flowery CBD kind has 25,000 industrial makes use of.

There was one downside, although. They might develop the hemp however there have been no services close by to course of it. In order that they determined to unravel the issue by constructing their very own.

In January, the pair purchased an previous grain mill in St. Johnsbury, a small city about 50 miles (80km) south of the Canadian border. They plan to retrofit it to retailer and put together hemp for wholesalers eager to make animal bedding and supplies equivalent to insulation. They hope to be up and operating by this September. In the event that they hit their goal of 9 million kilos (4 million kilograms) of fabric within the first 12 months, they estimate they may make $3m to $5m in income.

“Industrialized hemp is coming a method or one other,” McFarlane informed Al Jazeera. “It’s used everywhere in the world however America doesn’t manufacture on any scale. Somebody has to interrupt into the market.”

The pair belong to a tiny circle of trendsetters in a nascent sector.

Industrial hemp has been used for years in Europe and Canada however was solely decriminalized within the US in 2018. Most American growers initially planted for CBD, used for tinctures or distilled merchandise.

In keeping with the US Division of Agriculture, the worth of the floral harvest final 12 months was $623m, versus $82.9m mixed for the seed and fibre of the commercial kind. However the latter variant has a market potential of billions of {dollars}. That’s, if somebody takes the primary dangerous step.

Travis Samuels and Brandon McFarlanTravis Samuels and Brandon McFarlane belong to a small circle of trendsetters available in the market for industrial hemp [Courtesy of IND HEMP]

In concept, industrial hemp has immense prospects as a result of its versatility. The plant yields edible seeds wealthy in anti-inflammatory fat. The outer fibre – known as bast – will be processed into textiles, bio-fuel and paper.

The bamboo-like inside the stalk – known as hurd – will be harnessed for wooden substitutes and even plastics. Hemp’s sustainability additionally makes it fashionably inexperienced. It absorbs carbon, and resists mildew, pests, and fireplace. It might probably adapt to just about any local weather. It enriches soil and doesn’t require fertilizers.

Relying on the place you plant, there might be a couple of harvest a 12 months. At present, although, there’s no financial system of scale to make it worthwhile for the varied stakeholders concerned.

The provision chain fails due to a hen and egg conundrum. Put merely, there usually are not sufficient middlemen processors just like the cousins who can assure quantity gross sales for farmers. Due to this fact huge retailers hungry for this eco-product, like Patagonia – which has expressed its need to supply regionally and the potential to “create new American jobs” – need to depend on China or different overseas suppliers in the intervening time.

Processors can fill the hole, nonetheless, by guaranteeing an area provide. They purchase hemp bales from farmers, reduce and clear them, after which promote to the producers who flip the hemp into shirts, cat litter or composite boards.

“How does an trade join the disconnect between intrigued multinational issues and a skeptical farmer questioning if it is sensible so as to add some hemp to their rows?” Jody McGuinness, government director of the Hemp Industries Affiliation, informed Al Jazeera.

The reply, he mentioned, is “extra processing capability.”

Increasing the footprint

McGuinness mentioned such services are presently scarce. Being scattered throughout the nation, they’ll attain solely a small variety of growers, who must be inside a radius of fifty to 100 miles (80km to 160km). That’s as a result of freight prices are excessive, as a result of weight and bulk of hemp bales.

New ventures bobbing up are increasing the footprint, nonetheless. Amongst these coming onstream is South Bend Industrial Hemp in Kansas, which opened a processing facility in June, the primary within the Midwest.

Hempitecture is seeking to construct a plant in Idaho to provide HempWool thermal insulation. Hemp Inc has processing centres in North Carolina and Oregon and is scouting extra areas in Florida.

Panda Biotech expects its new hemp gin in Texas to be operational later this 12 months. California’s Riverdale Hemp Manufacturing facility plans to be operational after this summer season’s harvest.

These firms are beating the bushes to enroll native farmers, usually educating them a few crop they could not know something about. Curiosity is rising amongst struggling dairy and tobacco farmers searching for different makes use of for his or her land, particularly if they’ll get agricultural tax incentives to domesticate fallow plots.

However first, the farmers must be satisfied there’s a marketplace for them. Having been burned by CBD oversupply, many left the hemp market altogether. Excessive costs of conventional crops like soybeans and corn create much less incentive to gamble on fibre hemp. Hemp Benchmarks estimated the quantity of all registered hemp acreage plunged final 12 months to 195,000 acres (78,913 hectares), from 430,000 acres (174,015 hectares) in 2020 and 580,000 acres (234,717 hectares) in 2019.

Tractor harvesting hempSome trade watchers imagine the marketplace for industrial hemp has the potential to be price billions of {dollars} [Courtesy of IND HEMP]

For these geographically shut sufficient who’re prepared to leap in, one of many greatest gamers is IND HEMP, which is investing $25m in two services in Montana. The family-owned firm hopes that the 2 collectively can course of 20,000 to 40,000 acres (8,093 to 16,187 hectares) of fibre and oilseeds inside two years.

To this point COO Morgan Tweet has contracted nearly 20,000 acres (8,093 hectares) within the final three years between Montana, Oregon and Washington. Potential purchasers are eager, she mentioned. For the reason that launch of a pilot-scale fibre facility in 2020, each single buyer has known as again concerning the samples she despatched to them and needed to know after they may get a truckload.

Tweet sees an enormous alternative in her imaginative and prescient, arguing that wholesalers who import from overseas would like to purchase nearer to residence. But it is a slowly maturing trade and the return on IND HEMP’s funding will take time. “It is a marathon, not a dash,” Tweet informed Al Jazeera.

For one, low stock poses challenges. It takes about as much as three years to develop a community of growers, seed inventory and infrastructure, Tweet mentioned. One should plant now for the 2023 season, and there’s not sufficient home seed obtainable to provide the demand.

Then there are the substantial transport prices: Many farmers and clients she has spoken with function lots of of miles away. The corporate has commissioned from farmers in a 400-mile (643km) radius in Montana, and provides clients on each the east and west coasts. They’re hoping to contract acreage in Idaho this 12 months and are contemplating increasing into the Northwest area. Proper now, IND HEMP should subsidise freight however that’s not essentially sustainable within the long-term.

She stays optimistic. Both method, there isn’t a going again.

“Failure just isn’t an choice,” she mentioned.