The World Bank presents today an assessment of Bulgaria’s economic achievements over the past 20+ years and outlines Bulgaria’s Golden Growth potential
SOFIA, November 15, 2012 —Looking back over the past 20+ years, Bulgaria’s development path has not always been an easy one, but the country has made major achievements. Today, Bulgaria is not only a European Union (EU) member state, it also has become part of the European convergence machine as trade expanded and capital inflows surged. Bulgaria managed to attract record levels of foreign direct investments (FDI). Between 2002 and 2008 only Luxembourg and Hungary attracted more FDI among the EU member states. The income gap to the EU declined substantially; between 2000 and 2011, Bulgaria’s GDP per capita as a share of the EU 27 GDP increased from 28 percent to 45 percent.
Looking forward, Bulgaria will face a more uncertain external environment and substantial demographic pressures. It has to deal with a sharp decline in its working-age population which my drop by almost 40 percent by 2050. This will make it more difficult to fuel its convergence engine. Still, Bulgaria has large untapped potentials to accelerating growth and income convergence, for example by improving the business climate, strengthening the innovation system, and emphasizing green growth.
This is the main message from a World Bank presentation delivered at the occasion of this week’s “20+ years of partnership between Bulgaria and the World Bank” celebration events. The initial research will be followed next year by a dedicated report on Bulgaria’s Golden Growth prospects - opportunities for fast, smarter, kinder and greener growth.
According to Peter Harrold. World Bank Regional Director for Central Europe and Baltic Countries, “Bulgaria has achieved a lot over the past two decades, including solid macroeconomic stability which is extremely important in today’s uncertain economic environment. With the right policies, and with investments in public infrastructure and services, co-funded by European grants, the goal for the next 20 years of converging with Europe seems genuinely achievable”.