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 Conference Goals

On May, 19 and 20, 2004 under the patronage of The World Bank, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and the ARC Fund organised an international conference on topic "Knowledge Economy: Opportunities and chalenges for Bulgaria".

The conference is a follow-up of the forums, dedicated to the “Knowledge Economy”, organized by the World Bank in Paris (2002), Helsinki (2003) and Budapest (2004). Its main goal is to reveal and make popular the possibilities suggested by this new concept for the integration of Bulgaria to the fastest developing economies in the world. The conference has provided a broad forum for the exchange of views, experiences and models of best practice, related to the development of knowledge-based economy. It is an important element in the establishment of the important horizontal relations between the different institutions of knowledge in the public and private sector.

  • The Central Government Administration, including Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Education and Science.
  • The Bulgarian Parliament
  • The Presidency
  • Business Associations, including Bulgarian International Business Association, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bulgarian Industrial Association, Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies, etc.
  • Academic Circles
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • The Mass Media

 Expected Results
  • to raise awareness of the concept of "knowledge-based economy", following the analytical model of the World Bank;
  • to support the process of transition of the Bulgarian economy to a knowledge-based economy, providing a broad forum for all stakeholders in Bulgaria to exchange views and experiences;
  • to facilitate the transition process, providing models of best practice that could possibly be used in the Bulgarian environment;
  • to highlight important measures that should be taken for the transition of the Bulgarian industrial economy to a knowledge-based economy.
 What is "Knowledge Economy"?

The growth of the knowledge society has been one of the most recent significant trends in the global processes. Partnerships amongst governments, businesses and universities are increasingly seen as one of the most effective ways to achieve sustainable development.

The Lisbon European Council set the objective of making Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

A country's or community's ability to benefit from the knowledge revolution was studied comprehensively by the World Bank Institute (WBI) in its 1998 World Development Report titled "Knowledge for Development". The WBI subsequently developed a framework for analyzing the various policies and institutional changes required to develop a knowledge economy.

The basic premise is that knowledge is becoming a primary factor of production, in addition to capital, labor, and land. In fact, many economists now argue that it has become the most important component of production.

The result of a knowledge economy is improved quality, reduced costs, better adaptation to consumer needs, as well as new, innovative products. Conversely, there is an increasing digital, scientific and technological divide between developed countries that are exploiting knowledge, science, and technology for economic well being; compared to those less developed countries (and less developed regions within countries) that are not adequately participating in this revolution.

The following pillars are four critical requisites for a country to be able to fully participate in the knowledge economy:

  • Education & Training An educated and skilled population is needed to create, share and use knowledge.
  • Information Infrastructure A dynamic information infrastructure-ranging from radio to the internet-is required to facilitate the effective communication, dissemination and processing of information.
  • Economic Incentive & Institutional Regime A regulatory and economic environment that enables the free flow of knowledge, supports investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and encourages entrepreneurship is central to the knowledge economy.
  • Innovation Systems A network of research centers, universities, think tanks, private enterprises and community groups is necessary to tap into the growing stock of global knowledge, assimilate and adapt it to local needs, and create new knowledge.

©2004 SU "St. Kliment Ohridski", FMI