The World Bank Group opened today a new office for shared services in Sofia Tech Park. The official ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer, Shaolin Yang, the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, the Minister of Finances Vladislav Goranov, the Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov, the Minister for Transport, Information Technology and Communications Rossen Jeliazkov, diplomats, representatives of the business, the IT sector, the academic community and medias.
The office of the World Bank will provide corporate and technological support for the business operations of the five institutions within the Group worldwide.
„Starting from today, the World Bank is part of the innovation eco-system of Bulgaria. The presence itself of the biggest international financial institution in the country is an acknowledgment of the achievements of the IT sector and the talent of the Bulgarian specialists. It is not news but an upward trend that Bulgaria already offers real opportunities for development and careers not only for the young people who live here but also for those who, for various reasons, have chosen to live and work abroad. I think today’s event is another step in this direction. Other large corporations and organizations have also identified Bulgaria as a good place to work and do business” said the Executive Director of Sofia Tech Park Todor Mladenov, during the opening ceremony.
He assured the World Bank’s representatives that in the Sofia Tech Park they are in the right place, being among start-ups and developed companies, many of which successfully develop their products in the IT sector. Available to the Sofia Tech Park Community are also the interactive child museum TechnoMagicLand as well as the congress center for organization of events and trainings. Mladenov remained that the 11 high-tech scientific units in the Laboratory complex, which are headed by leading Bulgarian scientist, are functioning and are here to support the business. Laboratories, together with the businesses are developing innovative solutions in bioinformatics, 3D technology, virtual reality, high-speed computing, and artificial intelligence. ”We are very proud with the achievement of our bioinformatics laboratory, where the Bulgarian team on synthetic biology is also preparing. They are young, intelligent and ambitious people, who, same as the World Bank Group has chosen Bulgaria. The team worthily represent our country in the most prestigious competitions in their area and every year returns with medals” said Mladenov.
“Synthetic biology is the future of medicine and we are glad that we have the opportunity to work and develop in this field”, the representatives of the team Mikaela Stancheva and Ivan Pashov stated in front of the participants. Mikaela is a third year student at Sofia University, and Ivan is a five-year student at the Medical University – Sofia. The team is preparing for its fourth participation in the prestigious world competition on synthetic biology – iGEM, which takes place in Boston, USA. Their ambitions are to engage with innovative developments in the field of alternative antibiotics. “We are happy that we have the opportunity to realize ourselves in Bulgaria, to learn from Bulgarian teachers who are some of the best specialists in this field,” said the two young scientists.
“First, I what to address the people for whom we do all this – Ivan and Mikaela, as well as hundreds of thousands of children and youngsters like them, I think that both, the realization and the success can be reached. Through you, we do the best advertisement of the country, for which I thank you! “, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said in his speech. He stressed that the selection of Sofia to the World Bank’s shared service center was not easy. The Prime Minister thanked the work that has been done by the institutions, as well as the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, who, according to Borissov, with her work at the World Bank has proved that the Bulgarians deserve to be trusted.
“We have a good partnership with the bank. I can give dozens of examples of common projects. One of the most sophisticated and important was the concession of Sofia Airport, which we entrusted to the bank, to advise and help us, to make clear that the procedures in our country are made clear and transparent. The construction of an important Sofia-Skopje-Tirana corridor is under way and the World Bank is going to not only to finance it, but also to monitor all the processes for implementation of this project”said Borissov. The Prime Minister stressed that the IT sector in our country is developing 2 or 3 times faster than the other European countries and reminded that one of the eight supercomputers of the European Union will be located in Bulgaria in Sofia Tech Park and it will allow the parties of the entire region to take advantage of its computing power 24/7.
“We believe that the new location from which efficient and effective shared services will be provided to our employees from all over the world, will make a real contribution to fulfilling our core mission of tackling poverty”, said World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer, Shaolin Yang. He also added that “We thank the government of Bulgaria for its continued partnership and support in establishing the center.”
“I am very happy with the establishment of the shared services center in Sofia. It further strengthens Bulgaria’s strong partnership with the World Bank and acknowledges the many advantages Bulgaria has to offer”, noted Koen Davidse, the World Bank Group Executive Director responsible for the group of countries including Bulgaria (the Dutch group).
The location of the new World Bank center has been selected in conditions of strong competition from different countries and following a procedure involving a wide range of criteria, including factors such as stability, IT infrastructure quality, developed IT sector, competency of the staff. The World Bank Group expects in medium term, about 300 specialists to be employed in the new center.