Maya Dobreva, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Pretium, discusses her country’s position as business and investment hub in SEE. She also highlights the reasons why Belgian and international investors should choose Bulgaria.
European Times: What makes Bulgaria unique as an investment location?
Maya Dobreva: Bulgaria’s strategic geographic location serves as a bridge between the EU and the rapidly growing markets of Russia, Turkey, Middle East and CIS countries, placing the country in the centre of transit between these regions. Bulgaria also offers a combination of political and macroeconomic stability such as stable parliamentary democracy, EU, NATO and WTO member, strict currency board and low government debt.
The country provides educated and skilled workforce taking in consideration that 25% of the population holds university degree and 46% speaks at least one foreign language, which makes Bulgaria the best outsourcing destination in Europe and third in the world, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s rating for 2015. We have highly developed ICT sector and communication infrastructure, 4G is operational for a few years, the internet is available everywhere and we are third in Europe and fifth in the world speed wise. According to a World Bank Group Report – Doing Business 2016, Bulgaria ranks at 38th place.
European Times: What are some current trends in FDI in Bulgaria?
Maya Dobreva: EU membership gave great boost to Bulgarian trade by integrating the country into the free market. The government has taken concrete steps to present the country as an investor friendly destination. Besides the 10% flat tax rate, the government also offers reduced corporate tax for investments in undeveloped or regions having high unemployment, social security benefits and eased process of acquiring property. This together with country’s low operational costs provides additional economic benefits for the high productivity sectors that are looking for a regional base in EU.
The sectors that have strong potential for foreign investments include BPO, IT, machine building and transport equipment, chemical industry, electronics and electrical, transportation and logistics, healthcare and health tourism, agriculture and food processing.
European Times: What is your personal message to our international audience?
Maya Dobreva: Everyone who comes to Bulgaria is fascinated by our history, it is like meeting different worlds dating back in the past. We have beautiful nature and numerous business opportunities. Let me finish with the slogan of our InvestBulgaria Agency – “Come for a visit, return on investment”.