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Overview

Country Context

BULGARIA

2021

Population, million

6,8

GDP, current US$ billion

80.2

GDP per capita, current US$

11,730

Life Expectancy at birth, years 73.6*

*Latest data for 2020

Bulgaria has undergone a significant transformation over the past three decades, moving from a highly centralized, planned economy to an open, market-based, upper-middle-income economy securely anchored in the European Union (EU). In its initial transition to a market economy, the country went through a decade of slow economic restructuring and growth, high indebtedness, and loss of savings. 

However, the advancement of structural reforms, starting in the late 1990s, the introduction of a currency board, and expectations of EU accession unleashed a decade of exceptionally high economic growth and improved living standards. Yet, some legacy issues from that early period remain and, along with the global economic crisis of 2008 and the pandemic-induced crisis in 2020, have undone some of the gains achieved during the high-growth period. 

The long-term structural challenges facing Bulgaria include negative demographic trends, coupled with institutional and governance weaknesses. Strengthening institutions together with improved efficiency of public service delivery will support private sector expansion unlocking inclusive growth and shared prosperity.  

High rates of inequality of opportunity limit access to key public services, constraining the ability of individuals to escape poverty and thus leading to persistently high-income inequality. Poverty and inequality are reinforced by inadequacies in the targeting, coverage, and generosity of the social security system, limiting its role as a redistributive mechanism. 

Last Updated: Oct 10, 2022

LENDING

Bulgaria: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments

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World Bank
Advance Business Center, 2 Samara Street, 1715, fl.4
Tel: (359-2) 969-72-29
Fax:(359-2) 971-20-45
Shared Services Center
Advance Business Center, 2 Samara Street, Sofia
Tel: (359-2) 801-83-00