Between March 13 and 15, representatives from the Association of Indonesian Municipalities (APEKSI) and the municipality of Semarang – one of the most populated cities in Indonesia – were on a study visit to Sofia. The visit was organized under the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) program, an initiative funded by the European Union. The meetings in Sofia aimed to promote cooperation between the two cities in the field of sustainable urban mobility and good administrative practices in large cities.
The CEO of Invest Sofia Ph.D. Maria Hristova and Viktor Gousev, Head of the Investment Analysis department met with Mr. Mukhamad Khadhik, Assistant for Government of Regional Secretary (Semarang), Mr. Endro Pudyo Martantono, Head of Transportation Department (Semarang), Mrs. Indah Wibinastiti, General Manager at the Association of Indonesia Municipalities (Jakarta), Mrs. Dini Laraswati, IURC Indonesia Coordinator (Jakarta), and Pablo Gándara, Team Leader IURC Asia & Australasia. The guests were interested in the activities of Invest Sofia and the strategies and best practices we apply to attract investors to the city. Maria Hristova and Victor Gousev presented Sofia’s economic profile, the priority industries and the incentives in support of setting up or expanding business activities in the city, including the Sofia IS initiative, the Green Card for administrative service, networking activities with local and international businesses and entrepreneurial organizations. Vladimir Tomov – President of the Investment Council at BCCI, presented best practices in the infrastructure projects, accomplished through funding by international funds.
Funded by the European Union, the International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme promotes cooperation between cities on sustainable urban development and builds partnerships between EU and non-EU cities. The visit of our colleagues from Semarang is a follow-up to the study visit of Sofia city experts to Semarang, one of Indonesia’s most populous cities, which took place in June 2022.
Semarang is the capital and largest city of Central Java province. The city administration there is interested in improving its public transport system, especially tram transport, reflecting on the successful practices of Sofia. These include charging facilities in public transport, the SofiaCoin mobile app created under the INNOAIR project, measures to improve air quality, and initiatives to encourage more citizens to use public transport.
The three-day program included meetings with Mr. Barbalov, Deputy Mayor for Transport, representatives of Sofia Municipality, Sofia Electric Transport, the Urban Mobility Centre, Sofia Development Association and other stakeholders. It will include several visits to sustainable mobility projects. Sofia shared its experiences, achievements, and challenges. The city experts also introduced some innovative solutions being tested on a European scale, including the on-demand transport service developed under the INOAIR project.
We had very fruitful meetings with the Indonesian delegation representatives. We believe that the best practices exchanged and the talks we had will expand the opportunities for long-term cooperation between the capital of Bulgaria and Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, characterized by rapid urbanization and a growing economy.