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The European Investment Bank to Support the Implementation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia

 

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will support Sofia in the implementation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia. Sofia, with the support of the Fund of Funds, signed a contract with the EIB for a grant of consultancy support for the development of the conceptual projects identified in the Strategy, as well as for the development of a methodology for the evaluation of projects related to digitalization and smart cities.

This was announced by the Mayor Ms. Yordanka Fandakova and the Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency Mr. Vladimir Danailov at an event that outlined the guiding principles, goals and next steps for implementing the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia.

The event was attended by the chairman of the Sofia City Council Mr. Elen Gerdzhikov, the head of the EIB Group’s office for Bulgaria Mr. Andreas Baikos, and nearly 100 representatives of the local ecosystem that participated in the preparation of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia. The development process of the Strategy was coordinated by Sofia Investment Agency.

EIB will provide advisory services for the following steps of identification and evaluation of smart city projects and the development of a methodology for the evaluation of digitalization projects in various areas of urban life, incl. the assessment of the projects’ preparedness and sustainability. The aim of the advisory services is to help build on the indicative activities set out in the Strategy, which are currently at an initial conceptual stage and are in the first three priority areas – e-municipality, mobility and utilities.

“More e-services, optimization of the internal processes and services to citizens and business, the use of innovative urban solutions, as well as working together with the IT sector – these are key priorities for me in the coming years,” said Ms. Yordanka Fandakova. In her words, digitalization will give the city more order, more publicity, better control, better speed and will favor local IT solutions, attract foreign investment, enhance the quality of life and it is a vehicle for economic growth.

“I am happy that the European Investment Bank will support this very important project for Sofia,” said EIB Head of Bulgaria Andreas Beikos in his address.

“We view digitalization as a broader process, encompassing not only the Municipality and its services, but the entire urban environment. We see digitalization as an economic development tool. Last but not least, digitalization activities can be part of the image of Sofia, a marketing instrument and a strong brand of the city,” Vladimir Danailov said while presenting the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia.

 

About the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia

Sofia’s Digital Transformation Strategy was developed as a part of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge (DCC) project. The initiative supports European cities in developing and implementing policies aimed at smart, sustainable growth through the adoption of state-of-the-art technology.

The Strategy was developed using methodology provided by the EC, with the support of Commission experts and mentoring cities.

 In the development process, an analysis of the digital maturity of the city was executed and 18 operational objectives and 14 indicative activities were identified.

  

 

The mission of the Strategy is:

      to turn Sofia into a market for digital products and services created by Sofia-based companies, to become a platform for innovation;

–       to open the public administration towards the citizens and the businesses and to improve services and quality of life.

 

The need to develop a city-wide data policy and to open certain datasets was identified as a tool to foster innovation, as well as the need to avoid vendor-locking and to involve Bulgarian start-ups and IT businesses in the city’s digital transformation, using solutions created by Sofia-based companies.

See the presentation of Mr. Vladimir Danailov at the event here.

Read the highlights about the Strategy in the following document.

The document also contains links to the full English version of the Strategy published on the European Commission’s website for the Digital Cities Challenge Program, a translation of the Strategy in Bulgarian, as well as a link to the Assessment Report for the digital maturity of Sofia.

Once again, we thank the experts who participated in the creation of the Strategy and attended its presentation at Sofia Municipality. At the publication of the Strategy in June 2019, the experts, organizations and companies involved were just over 100. To date, our network of local stakeholders for the implementation of the Strategy includes nearly 200 people and/or entities. 

You can join the network as an individual expert or as a representative of a company/organization in the upcoming work groups. Let us know if you would like to receive news and invitations for future meetings and consultations.

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