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GDP per Capita: $1,500 GDP (USD Billions): 12.3 Inflation (CPI): 1.8% Currency: 1 Lev (BGL)=100 Stotinki USD Conversion Rate: 1USD=1.905BGL Population (Millions): 8.2 Labor Force (Millions): 3.8 Unemployment: 12.2% Language: Bulgarian, Turkish Major Industries: machine building and metal working, food processing, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, ferrous and nonferrous metals Political System: Republic Economic System: Free Market Literacy Rate: 98% Leader - President: Peter Stoyanov; Prime Minister: Ivan Kostov Capital: Sofia Facts: A potential candidate for the next round of NATO expansion


In April 1997, the current ruling Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) government won pre-term parliamentary elections and introduced an IMF currency board system which succeeded in stabilizing the economy. The triple digit inflation of 1996 and 1997 has given way to an official consumer price increase of 1% in 1998. Following declines in GDP in both 1996 and 1997, the economy grew an officially estimated 4% in 1998. In September 1998, the IMF approved a three-year Extended Fund Facility, which provides credits worth approximately $864 million, designed to support Bulgaria's reform efforts. The government's structural reform program includes: (a) privatization and, where appropriate, liquidation of state-owned enterprises (SOEs); (b) liberalization of agricultural policies, including creating conditions for the development of a land market; (c) reform of the country's social insurance programs; and, (d) reforms to strengthen contract enforcement and fight crime and corruption.


State-owned enterprises are still the single largest presence in Bulgaria's economy. Movement towards privatisation has been slow and the actual privatisation process has turned out to be complex. Nonetheless - the process of privatisation has brought an impressive turnaround to the economy and created significant potential for investment. A Privatisation Agency was created to negotiate foreign interest in buying small state enterprises. And a Stability Pact, committed to with the U.S., EU, and Southeast Europe governments, will lead to new and expanded trade and investment opportunities in Bulgaria. The main sectors targeted for growth are Construction, Food (dairy, meat, bread), Maintenance and Repair of electronic tools/equipment, household appliances and automobiles; Financial Services (insurance and lending), Healthcare and Tourism.