NCIZ

 

                                                   

 

GDP (2011): 33 974 mil. BGN

Area of the city of Sofia: 492 km2

Population (2012):

  • City: 1 271 743
  • Density: 2,448/km2 (6,340/sq mi)

 

Labour Market

  • Employees under labour contract in the city of Sofia as of 2011: 681 915
  • Average annual wages and salaries of the employees under labour contract in the city of Sofia as of 2011: 11 249 BGN; for the district - 8 360 BGN
  • Employed population of 15 – 64 years of age in the city of Sofia as of 2012: 617 700; for the district – 95 600.
  • Unemployed population of 15 – 64 years of age in the city of Sofia as of 2012: 49 000
  • Unemployment rate of population aged 15 – 64 years of age in the city of Sofia as of 2012 – 7.3%
  • Employment rates of population of 15 – 64 years of age in the city of Sofia as of 2012: 66.9 %; for the district – 59.6 %
  • Total unemployment in South-West Region: 87 100
  • Total unemployment rate in the region: 8.3 %

 

 

Regional Specialization

The following sectors are particularly developed in the region:

  • Mining (5 companies and 3 325 employees as of 2012)
  • Food industry (234 companies and 3 587 employees as of 2012)
  • Timber industry (164 companies and 609 employees as of 2012)
  • Paper and carton production (45 companies and 955 employees as of 2012)
  • Pharmaceutical industry (36 companies and 3 082 employees as of 2012)
  • Plastic and rubber products (82 companies and 998 employees as of 2012)
  • Products of non-metal mineral raw materials (61 companies and 913 employees as of 2012)
  • Metal products (16 companies and 1 075 employees as of 2012)
  • Production of computer and communication equipment, electronic and optical products (14 companies and 1 703 employees as of 2012)
  • Production of electric equipment (28 companies and 1 093 employees as of 2012)
  • Production of automobiles, trailers and semi-trailers (3 companies and 616 employees as of 2012)
  • Information & communication services
  • Printing
  • TV & Film production

 

 

The South-Western region is a leader in the services sector with a 55% share of Bulgaria’s GDP. GDP generated by industry in this region is more than twice as high as that of the other five level 2 regions. Tourism in the mountains, winter sports and spa tourism are very strongly developed in this region.

 

Development Potential

  • There is potential for crossborder, interregional, and transnational cooperation owing to the strategic and key location of the region along the routes of Pan-European transport corridors, its borders with three countries and the well developed regional and local transport infrastructure.
  • The completion of the Struma motorway is important to improve the region’s connectivity and boost the economic significance of the region’s southern part in particular. The connection through Kyustendil in the direction of Macedonia will play a similar role.
  • The development of businesses, commerce and tourism is supported by the highly available railway transport (densely positioned railway stations and stops and the availability of two border checkpoints), highly dense network of major roads and motorways, and the international Sofia Airport.
  • Economic and cultural relations and cooperation are encouraged by the fact that Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, belongs to this region and plays the role of a national and European administrative, economic and cultural hub.
  • The easily available social and technical infrastructure and the concentration of schools of higher learning and research centres present some untapped opportunities for the region’s economy.
  • This region provides a conducive environment for innovations and business owing to the concentration of financial, material, and human resources (positive trends in terms of population growth) in the region and in the capital and the availability of highly qualified professionals in different sectors of the economy.

 

Credit Rating    

  • On Aug 24, 2010, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised the long-term credit rating on the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia to investment grade 'BBB-' from 'BB+'.

Foreign Direct Investments in Non-Financial Enterprises in Sofia as of 2011 (thousand EUR):  11 586 556.9

The South-Western region is the leader among level 2 regions in terms of foreign direct investments.

 

Transport

Sofia is a major hub for international railway and automobile transport. Three of the ten Pan-European Transport Corridors cross the city: IV, VIII and X.

The South-Western region has the second longest road network in the country. The average density of major roads and motorways is 0.036 km/km² and is higher than the national average (0.032 km/km²). Sections of the Hemus, Trakia and Struma motorways cross the South-Western region.

The existing operational railways in the region run for a total of 899 km (2010 data), representing 21.9% of the railroad network of the country. The railway line electrification rate is the highest in the South-Western region, while it occupies the fourth place in terms of the length of double track railway lines.

The region borders on three neighbouring countries: Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia. This would help develop active crossborder cooperation. The region communicates with the neighbouring countries through eight border checkpoints.

Sofia is the first and the main international airport in Bulgaria. The number of passengers is over 4 million a year and grows continually. Sofia Airport has been operating since 1937. The airport is situated only 10 km from the city center.

 

Educational System

In terms of education, in 2010, this was the region with the highest number of inhabitants holding a university degree, accounting for 41% of the entire population of the region versus the national average of 27.7%. The region has 24 universities (2 in the district of Blagoevgrad, 1 in the district of Pernik, 1 in the district of Sofia (in the town of Botevgrad) and 20 in the Greater Sofia Metropolitan Area) and five colleges (1 in the district of Blagoevgrad and 4 in the Greater Sofia Metropolitan Area). The majority of Bulgaria’s research and development community is located in this region and more specifically in Sofia.

 

Cultural Heritage

There are 7,348 pieces of immovable cultural heritage in the region. Some of them are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, such as the Boyana Church and the Rila Monastery. This region has in its territory the archaeological reserves of Pautalia-Velbazhd in Kiustendil, Serdika-Sredets in Sofia, Melnik, several period towns and villages such as Koprivshtitsa, Bansko, Kovachevitsa, Dolen, lots of monasteries representing different periods in history, such as the Rila Monastery, an epitome of Bulgaria’s ancient culture, the Rozhen Monastery, the Seven Thrones Monastery, the Samokov Nunnery, the Etropole Monastery, the Zemen Monastery, the cluster of monasteries in Sofia Sveta Gora among others.

There are 44 museums in the region. Eight of them are national, three are regional, 16 are municipal and 11 are associated with an institution. There are 8 art galleries. Here is a list of national institutions of culture: the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the National Opera House, the National Palace of Culture. Some very popular events are the Pirin Pee (Pirin Sings) Folklore Festival, the Festivals of Macedonian Songs in Blagoevgrad, Pirin Folk in Sandansky, the Bansko Jazz Fest, the Mummers’ Festival in Pernik, etc.