Mayor Yordanka Fandakova has appointed Sofia’s first ever Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development. The position is taken up by the current Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency, Mr. Vladimir Danailov. He will lead the Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development Unit. With the opening of such a unit, Sofia joins the ranks of cities such as London, Barcelona, Vienna and Stockholm.
“More e-services, digitalization of the processes of managing and serving citizens and businesses, the use of innovative urban solutions, and working together with the IT sector – these are key priorities for me in the coming years,” said Yordanka Fandakova, commenting on the decision to create the new unit. “I am convinced that the digitalization of the urban environment, innovation and economic development are interlinked areas that give the city and our lives more order, more publicity, attract foreign investment and create quality jobs and a better quality of life,” the Mayor of Sofia added.
Deputy Mayor Vladimir Danailov commented on the new unit:
“The digitalization of Sofia is a broad process that covers not only the metropolitan municipality and its services, but also the entire urban environment. Sofia can be a platform for innovation and a market for digital products and services created by the strong IT companies in Sofia and the startup environment. Finally yet importantly, digitalization activities are a tool for a strong international image of the capital. Digitalization is the basis of smart cities. By 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in large cities and the increased pressure on cities must be alleviated by new innovative solutions.”
The new unit for digitalization, innovation and economic development start its work with several tasks:
✔️ to ensure a holistic approach rather than a piece-by-piece work and inconsistent standalone decisions
✔️ to turn the city into a platform for innovation
✔️ to reduce the administrative burden
✔️ to turn Sofia into a market for digital products and services created by Sofia-based companies
✔️ to avoid dependency on a particular provider
The Deputy Mayor has already submitted for discussion and adoption by the Sofia City Council the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia – a strategic document on which Vladimir Danailov and the team of the Sofia Investment Agency, on behalf of the metropolitan municipality, worked for 18 months and developed it within the framework of the Digital Cities Challenge project of the European Commission. More than 100 experts, organizations and IT companies in Sofia were involved in the development of the strategy. It is based on an assessment of the digital maturity of the city and the priorities set by the ecosystem itself.
Sofia will also receive support from the European Investment Bank for the implementation of the Strategy, as announced at the end of last year.
In mid-January, Mr Danailov announced the inclusion of Sofia in an international training project on the management of digital transformation in European cities. Sofia’s participation is at the invitation of Bloomberg Philanthropies. The initiative is aimed at leaders in urban governance and policies for digitalization of the urban environment and innovation. Our capital is already part of the program and is represented by Vladimir Danailov, Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation, Economic Development and Investment and Elitsa Panayotova, Project Coordinator of Green Sofia.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Digital Innovation Initiative for European cities provides cities with the opportunity to participate in projects, apply for funding grants and for professional development programs for city management leaders.
More information about the initiative can be found in the official announcement on the Bloomberg Philanthropies website.
You can also follow the social media accounts of Sofia’s Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation, Economic Development and Investment Mr. Vladimir Danailov on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to follow the most important from digital Sofia.