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Official address by the OECD Secretary General on the accession of Bulgaria

By 22.02.2024February 27th, 2024No Comments
Official address by the OECD Secretary General on the accession of Bulgaria

22.02.2024 |

Matthias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General, addressed the OECD ACCESSION FORUM | SKILLS MATTER FOR BULGARIA, focusing on the critical role of skills development for the country’s economic future. Here’s a summary of the key points from his speech:

  • Growth and Integration: Over the past two decades, Bulgaria has seen steady economic growth and integration into global value chains, leading to increased per capita incomes from 30% of average OECD incomes in 2000 to over 50% today. This growth has been supported by stable macroeconomic conditions, healthy public finances, and a sound financial system.
  • Economic Convergence Slowing: Despite these achievements, economic convergence with more advanced economies has slowed, particularly since the global financial crisis. Developing and updating the skills of Bulgaria’s workforce is seen as essential to reversing this slowdown, boosting productivity, and fostering economic growth.
  • Skills and Labor Market Outcomes: Higher skills levels are associated with better labor market outcomes, including higher incomes, better health and well-being, and greater civic and social engagement. However, Bulgaria faces challenges such as a high percentage of students underperforming in key areas (38.3% in reading, mathematics, and science) compared to the OECD average of 16.4%.
  • Skills Action Plan: The OECD, in collaboration with the European Commission, is assisting Bulgaria in developing a Skills Action Plan. This plan aims to enhance young people’s and adults’ skills, ensure effective skills utilization, and improve the governance of the skills system. It will focus on improving education to work transitions, addressing the shortage of high-skilled workers, and enhancing digital skills among Bulgarians.
  • Addressing Labor Market Shifts: As the labor market evolves, particularly with digital transformation, there’s a need to equip workers with the skills to adapt. Bulgaria’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy and the Skills Action Plan aim to strengthen related skills and support lifelong learning.
  • Utilizing Untapped Potential: With a shrinking working age population, Bulgaria must draw on untapped labor potential and retain talent. The plan includes incentives for job seekers, upskilling opportunities, and measures to encourage skilled immigration.
  • OECD Accession Process: Cormann highlighted the OECD accession process as a transformative journey for Bulgaria, aiming to develop a comprehensive reform agenda across various policy areas. This process is expected to lead to recommendations for improving standards and adopting best practices for sustainable growth.

In conclusion, investing in skills development is crucial for Bulgaria to match the current and future needs of employers, boost incomes, and ensure all Bulgarians can benefit from economic and societal opportunities.

Details

Target audience

Digital skills for all

Digital technology

Artificial Intelligence

Digital Skills