President: Bulgaria Has Potential to Develop in Field of Innovations
According to President Rosen Plevneliev, the achievements of Bulgaria in the field of innovations are forthcoming and the country has great potential to develop in this sphere.
Plevneliev said this during his participation at the eleventh edition of the national innovation forum entitled “Development of an innovation environment for a sustainable economic growth in Bulgaria”.
In his words, the Bulgarian state has to provide favourable environment for the development of innovations and thus realise the potential of the country’s economy.
This could be achieved only though working together with dedication and providing the expected level of education and quality.
The Bulgarian president called on business to be more ambitious on the path to knowledge economy, outlining the opportunities for EU funding.
He noted that Bulgaria is the first member state of the EU with its own programme for education and innovations.
Plevneliev added that around EUR 600 M are foreseen for education and innovations, while EUR 1.4 B are available to business under the Innovations and Competitiveness Operational Programme.
He called for retaining the country’s absorption rate of EU funds in 2016 and devising a stable legal framework, which would ensure a predictable business environment.
The Head of State outlined four main conditions for the successful economic development of Bulgaria.
In the first place, he put adaptive and innovative education, calling on the state to support the educational reform.
In his opinion, the deficit of qualified cadres, which was due to shortcomings in the education system, could be addressed by placing engineering in the focus and allocating more funds to universities specialising in industries that have bene identified as strategic for the Bulgarian economy.
The presence of strong and effective institutions was identified as the second key condition for a successful economic development.
There was need for increasing the institutional capacity of the state, which could be achieved through the swift introduction of electronic government.
Thirdly, he reiterated the need for clear priorities, securing state funding for them and focusing on quality rather than quantity.
Plevneliev highlighted the Bulgarian successes in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the outsourcing industry and the automobile sector.
According to him, thanks to stepping up efforts and good planning until 2020, Bulgaria has increased its role as a leading regional innovation center in ICT.
He pointed to the forthcoming opening of the first science and technology park in Bulgaria – Sofia Tech Park, which is scheduled to take place on Friday.
The ICT sector has developed to such an extent that it accounts for 10 % of Bulgarian exports and provides employment to 17 000 people.
Among the factors for Bulgaria’s regional leadership in ICT were the high-qualified labour force, the country’s favourable location, the good knowledge of foreign languages and the excellent ratio between quality and labour cost.
The president highlighted the potential of the country as an attractive outsourcing destination, which was giving additional stimulus to the Bulgarian economy.
In his words, the future lay in innovations, employing the talent of the nation and applying strategic thinking rather than in the construction of natural gas pipelines.
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