The Bulgarian capital city Sofia lands the third position after London and Dublin in the category Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) strategy in the annual report European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/2021. The report is published by FT’s research division fDI Intelligence and measures the development of major to micro European cities by different factors such as investment attractiveness, business friendliness, talent resources, connectivity, economic potential, and cost-effectiveness.
“We believe that through our work on the business environment in the city and the image of Sofia before the world in the last three years, Sofia Municipality and the team of Sofia Investment Agency have contributed to the recognition of the capital once again! Sofia’s placement in the Top 3 along with London and Dublin for the strategy for attracting foreign investment is an extremely strong achievement for the city,” reads an official statement of Sofia Investment Agency – the business development and promotion agency part of the Sofia municipality.
Since 2015, the investments in the top five sectors in Sofia – IT & software, automotive, industrial components, transportation & warehousing, and business services, exceed $2.6B, shows data, collected by the agency. Bulgaria received a record amount of foreign investment in software and ICT services in 2018, with at least 16 projects valued at $240m, mostly in Sofia, a recently published FT overview states. The ICT sector had sales of $3.2bn in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 45% according to the International Data Corporation, and employs over 50K people in the city.
As a comparison, Dublin, which ranks second, has attracted the third-highest number of FDI projects. Between October 2014 and September 2019, the city received 543 investments, almost one-third of which were in business services.More than one-quarter were in sales, marketing and support functions and almost one-fifth were in headquarters operations, reads the report further.
Cost-effectiveness and more
Alongside the recognition for its FDI strategy, the Bulgarian capital city is ranked in top 10 in another four categories. The city is third by its cost-effectiveness, following Georgian Tbilisis and Belarusian Minsk. The Sofia region lands at the sixth position among the top ten Eastern European regions of the Future, directly following Masovian Voivodeship in Poland, and catching up to Bucharest, Bratislava and Prague. As a city (not region) Sofia ranks 9th in the category of Eastern European hubs of the future, measured by economic potential, human capital, lifestyle, cost-effectiveness, connectivity, and business friendliness.
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City FDI parameters: Where a capital city was not classed as major by its population, we looked at its inward FDI figures. Any capital city with a LUZ of over 1 million, which received more than 30% of its country’s FDI was upgraded to the ‘Major’ category. In addition, we looked at FDI stats for any non-capital cities whose populations classed as ‘Major’. Any city which received less than 10% of its country’s FDI was classed as ‘Large’