During a courtesy meeting with a delegation from Partit Laburista, Malta Chamber...
Sofia is the largest and the capital city of Bulgaria, and ranks 47th in terms of having the highest population in the entire European Union. It is ranked as a Beta world city. It is located at the foot of Mount Vitosha in the western part of Bulgaria. This strategic position really gives it an added advantage as it is located at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula and hence acts as an entrance to the Middle Eastern part of Europe.
The city’s strategic location and comprehensive talent pool really makes it one of the best locations to do business and invest. It also has state of the art infrastructure. It is a centre for international automobile and railway routes and contains three Trans-European Corridors. Apart from an excellent infrastructure, Sofia also has a strong 73 thousand workforce which is highly motivated as well as qualified and provides flexible services that may prove beneficial to all types of businesses.
As much as half of the foreign capital entering the country is invested in Sofia, majority of which comes from Austria. Before the economic recession, Sofia was experiencing rapid economic growth. The Sofia city is home to many famous international companies which include IBM, Siemens, Software AG, SAP, and Hewlett Packard and so on.
The Bulgarian economy is predicted to grow at a rate of 3.8 per cent in the year 2011. This has really come as good news to its largest city as it is the one which mostly contributes towards the growth of the country’s GDP. Thus, there is a positive growth trend prevailing currently in the Bulgarian economy which is a good sign for investors who wish to invest in Sofia.
Due to the strategic location of Bulgaria it offers lots of opportunities in terms of tapping European markets. The same thing applies to Sofia. Based in the central position of the country, Sofia has a population of more the 1.3 million. Apart from this its strategic location the vibrant infrastructure really makes it easy for businesses to gain access to surrounding markets.
Though the city accounts for just 16% of the total population of Bulgaria, it plays a much larger role in the development of the country. Sofia produces as much as 34% of the entire GDP of Bulgaria. This growth rate of Sofia since years exceeded the national average GDP. Its current GDP per capita stands at 72% of the European Union average. This is expected to increase to 80% by the year 2015. The GDP of Sofia was 12.9 billion Eur in the year 2010. As far as foreign direct investment is concerned, in the year 2008 Sofia attracted as much as 68% of the entire FDI entering Bulgaria. Sofia attracted FDI worth 3.7 million Euros out of the 5.4 million Euros that entered the country.
It is the market size of Sofia that has attracted many international business leaders in several sectors such as financial services, electronics, Information Technology, telecommunications, utilities and many more. Sofia is the most important economic centre of Bulgaria and is home to some of the most renowned international companies.
Sofia has investment opportunities in almost all its three - primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. But being a service oriented city, it has plenty of opportunities in the tertiary sector. It is now being seen as an outsourcing destination. Some of the sectors worth investing Sofia include the construction, trade and transport sector. As it is a service oriented economy there are tremendous opportunities for investors to invest in sectors such as financial services, business services and others.
In the recent past, Sofia’s investment friendly business environment, strategic endowments and a good tax code really reflects its dedication towards encouraging foreign investment in the region. To encourage foreign investment in the country, the Bulgarian government enacted a law known as the Bulgarian Investment Encouragement Act, 2007 under which it undertook programs that encouraged foreign investment in almost all its cities.
The government of Bulgaria also established an agency known as the Bulgarian foreign investment agency which works towards attracting foreign investment in the country. This has really benefited the capital city as it is able to absorb more of the foreign investment of the country. The tax rates in Bulgaria are also low and there are no local taxes levied in the city of Sofia.
This really works as an added advantage as more and more companies are coming to invest in the region.
The Bulgarian legislations are designed in such a manner that they provide loads of investment incentives to foreign investors. The special incentives are provided in the form of employment-based deductions, social security contributions.
Resources - Related websites, related associations, industry bodies etc.
The Bulgarian government has established a foreign investment agency known as the Bulgarian Foreign investment agency to encourage foreign investment in the country. The main motive of this agency is to provide investors with all information regarding investing in the country. It provides investors with information about the best regions in which they can invest. The city of Sofia has benefited largely from this agency.
A positive growth trend, an investor friendly government and friendly investment policies all these features have really made Sofia one of the best places to invest not only in Bulgaria but also in the entire European Union.
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