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Investment Reform Index 2010

Monitoring Policies and Institutions for Direct Investment in South-East Europe

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Using an innovative methodology, the Investment Reform Index 2010 (IRI 2010) monitors investment-related policy reforms in the economies of South-East Europe and compares these to best practices in the OECD area. Based on inputs from governments, the private sector, independent experts and multilateral organisations active in the region, the IRI 2010 assesses policies and institutional settings in eight fields of policy critical to domestic and foreign investors. These are: investment policy and promotion; human capital development; trade policy and facilitation; access to finance; regulatory reform and parliamentary processes; infrastructure for investment; tax policy analysis; and SME policy. For the economies examined, the IRI 2010 provides an independent and rigorous assessment of investment-related policy settings and reform against international good practice, guidance for policy reform and development and an evidence base with which to facilitate prioritisation of donor activities supporting investment and growth.

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Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union (EU), which it formally joined on 1 January 2007, allowed for a gradual convergence with the EU common market, fiscal prudence and a national currency pegged to the euro, and has provided macroeconomic stability. Improved growth was accompanied by a decrease in the rate of unemployment from 12.7% in 2003 to an estimated 5.1% in 2008 (EBRD, 2009), although this had risen to 7.4% in the third quarter of 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis (EIU, 2009). In 2008, GDP per capita purchasing power parity was at USD 12 322, slightly above the regional average of USD 11 460 (IMF, 2009). Construction and services have been the most dynamic sectors in Bulgaria in recent years. The service sector has developed rapidly, reaching a 61.8% share of GDP in 2007 (EIU, 2008). The inflation rate has been high, above 6%, since 2004, and reached 12% in 2008. However, inflation is expected to drop significantly to 2.7% in 2009 (IMF, 2009). As a result of the EU accession process, Bulgaria became part of the EU customs union and national customs provisions were replaced by the corresponding EU regulations.

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