Key Facts: Bulgaria

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: Sofia Population: 7,204,687 (July 2009 est.)

Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census).

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey.

Government: parliamentary democracy. Chief of State: President Georgi Parvanov. Head of Government: Prime Minister Boyko Borissov Economy: Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the European Union (E.U.) on Jan. 1, 2007, has experienced strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but have failed so far to rein in rising inflation and large current account deficits. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment, but corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.

GDP per capita: $12,900 (2008 est.); Inflation: 12.3% (2008); unemployment 6.3% (2008).

Currency: Lev (BGN). Leva per U.S. dollar: 1.31047 (Oct. 15, 2009).

Exports: $22.51 billion (2008 est.): clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels.

Imports: $34.88 billion (2008 est.): machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials.

Major crops/agricultural products: Vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock.

Agriculture: 7.3% of GDP and 7.5% of the labor force.

Internet: Code. .bg; 513,470 (2008) hosts and 1.899 million (2007) users.

Source: CIA World Factbook