BULGARIA INVITES BILL GATES TO INVEST IN THE COUNTRY
A big Bulgarian business delegation, headed by Finance Minister Milen Velchev, will present from November 29 to December 8 the opportunities for investments in IT technologies in our country. In his difficult task to convince representatives of companies such as Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft that it's worthwhile investing in Bulgaria, Mr. Velchev will be assisted by Pavel Ezekiev, Director of the Foreign Investment Agency, Sasha Bezuhanova, Deputy Chairperson of the Bulgarian International Business Association (BIBA), and others. The first stop of our delegates overseas will be San Francisco, where meetings are planned with the managerial teams of the four biggest software corporations in the world. The programme of our business delegation includes also talks with representatives of venture capital funds and investment banks, operating in the top technological cluster in the USA - the Silicon Valley. Afterwards, the opportunities for investments in the Bulgarian IT sector will be presented in Seatle and Washington. The Foreign Investment Agency has prepared especially for the visit to the USA a prospectus, showing the state of the IT sector in our country. It points out that Bulgaria rates second in the world according to the number of certified computer experts per capita. Each year Bulgarian universities issue diplomas to 2,000 graduates in computer sciences and about 5,000 engineers. Our country is among the leaders regarding the prizes, won at international computer contests. A curious moment in the prospectus of the Foreign Investment Agency is the appeal of the US INTERNET website www.businessweek.com, reading: Forget India, Let's Go To Bulgaria. As it is known, the Asian country attracts huge amounts of foreign direct investments in the IT sector. The basic arguments, by which Mr. Velchev and his companions will try to persuade American investors to come and invest in Bulgaria's economy are the expected economic growth in 2004 (5% of GDP), decreasing unemployment, and low budget deficit. The prospectus, prepared by Mr. Ezekiev's experts, reads that one of the lowest direct taxes rates in Central and Eastern Europe are in Bulgaria, and that the most recent report of the European Commission acknowledged Bulgaria's economy as competitive in a medium term.