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On 18th May, the second leadership online event on the role of private sector during COVID-19, organized by FEBA and UNICEF was held. The representatives of the leading UN bodies in the country discussed what the economic impacts and effects on business are. Almost 150 managers and students from 8 countries leaned more on the international and local forecasts and measures for resilience and economic recovery.




Mr. Fabricio Zarcone, country manager of the World Bank for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia stressed on the role of the international institution to protect the human capital and to interlink this crisis with the upcoming one with climate change. In order to be responsible, the investment from government to the private sector shall be rapid, transparent and time bound. Mr Zarcone further commented that the current welfare system in Bulgaria needs strengthening in three dimensions: 1. its coverage of the poor and vulnerable household needs to be expanded; 2. its generosity needs to be increased and 3. remote enrollment and payment mechanisms would need to be strengthened. “A reform of the Bulgarian safety net is as an investment for the future”, he concluded.


Mr. Kaloyan Ganev, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistics and Econometrics of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, presented the economic outlook for 2020 stressing on the fact that the situation is worse than our already pessimistic projection. He further analyzed the various scenarios to deal with the expected recession. In the end, Mr. Ganev called for a much more serious attention to the labour market, education, healthcare, ageing, and social support necessary on behalf of government. His book on the business cycles is available to free download here.


One of the topics, which Peter Andronov, chairman of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria and CEO of UBB, discussed during the webinar "Private sector facing COVID-19" was the changed role of the banks since the start of the lockdown and now – months after working under changed developments.


„Banks will be more and more engaged with recovery and the relatively quick rebound of the economy. I can tell you, at least within UBB, a big part of our attention is now turned towards meeting existing and new clients, offering solutions for their current needs and future initiatives, structuring new products, based on various local and international financial programs and instruments.”


The final panelist Ms. Sanja Saranovic, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Bulgaria, presented the current activities of the organization focused on the protection of the most vulnerable children and families during the pandemic. She described the process of building trusted and shared value partnerships between business and CSOs and advised the participants to use the current crisis as an entry point for joining efforts and stronger commitment to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.