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On 14 May 2008 the Center for the Study of Democracy presented the results for Bulgaria of the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2008. The press-conference was held in Hall 1 of the Center. Bulgaria is included for a third time in this most prestigious annual competitiveness ranking – IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook. The ranking measures the international competitiveness of the country in four areas: economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency, and infrastructure.

Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator of the Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy presented the key data and conclusions from this year’s ranking. He underlined the risk to the Bulgarian competitiveness caused by external factors such as the credit crisis in the USA and Europe, the increase of the raw materials’ prices, as well as country internal risks such as the existence of a vast untapped labor potential, lack of well-qualified managers, lack of government and legislative support to the scientific and research infrastructure, etc.

This year Bulgaria ranks 39th among 55 economies in the world, two places higher then last year. This positive development is due to a range of factors - increasing flows of foreign investments, stable public finances and a fixed exchange rate to the euro, decrease of unemployment, the lowest in Europe corporate income tax, the improvement of basic infrastructure and cheaper and more accessible technologies. However, on the balance there are more reasons for concern such as: the decline in Bulgaria’s position regarding the labor market (on shortage of qualified personnel), the recent instability in the socio-political environment, the decline in scientific infrastructure. Major problems also in this year’s ranking remain the highest current balance deficit, the low growth of the export of goods, the aging of the population, corruption levels and the lack of good ethical practices in the Bulgarian business.

The participants in the press conference
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator of the Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy
During the event

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