IInformation and communication technologies form the driving force behind the economic growth and are an engine of change in many spheres of life. In parallel, the opening of a digital divide between winners and losers of the economic race both within individual societies and the international community threatens to deepen the developmental cleavage. The term ’digital divide’ refers to a gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographical areas at different socio-economic levels with respect to their access to ICT and the internet.

Bulgaria is firmly determined to successfully comply with global challenges, bridge the existing gaps and keep up with the pace of development. Bulgaria is pressing ahead with the creation of an information society as part of country integration into the European Union. The eEurope and eEurope+ initiatives, the Bulgarian eDimension Action Plan as well as various other European programmes, touching upon the information society development, guide the goal-setting of the Bulgarian government.

The shaping of an information society is not at a zero level in Bulgaria . The Bulgarian government have been promoting modern ICT infrastructure, setting up a pertinent legislative framework, reforming public administration and raising the issue onto the political agenda in the attempt to encourage and accelerate the formation of an information society. Many structures have initiated or supported a number of e-skills, e-learning, e-government, e-democracy and e-business programmes in order to catch up with the EU Member States. Simultaneously they keenly follow benchmark indicators of the information society while monitoring their progress record.

The shaping of an information society is accompanied by a restructuring of the economic base into a knowledge economy. The latter endeavour forms the second major building block in the economic strategies of Bulgaria. These strategies prioritise active use of knowledge and high technologies, since they aim at shifting the emphasis from labour intensive industries to knowledge intensive, high value added activities.

Such an economic strategy is justified by a reference to the countries’ lack of natural resources, small populations, limited capacity of national economies and small market sizes. Sometimes the industrial tradition of high tech products in the area is also referred to. Highly skilled, well educated people are conceived of being the main asset of Bulgaria in accordance with this line of reasoning. The approach has direct implications for the industrial policy of Bulgaria, as the government emphasise technology and research intensive branches of industry.

Accordingly, the Bulgarian government identify sectors with the best developmental potential in terms of international competitiveness and the existing science base:

• User-friendly information society technologies

• Biomedicine

• Material sciences

• Information technologies

• Pharmaceuticals

• Biotechnologies

• Nanotechnologies

• Laser technologies

• Mechatronics

Bulgaria hold ambitions to become big player in the international information technology market. In promoting this sector for international customers and investors, Bulgaria use such slogans as "Bulgaria - THE Competitive Location for IT Services" and "Bulgaria - Your New Source for IT Solutions".

Bulgaria wishes to become a leading software exporter in Eastern Europe by the year 2020. At the same time as the ICT sector is promoted, considerably more attention is paid to the electronics industry, which is prioritised to the same extent at all. Yet historically, Bulgaria used to have large, in relative terms advanced electronics sectors.

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