Bulgaria has a great potential  for becoming a digital hub in the region and a leader in digital connectivity, Minister of Innovation and Growth Alexander Poulev said at a meeting with Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the State of Qatar Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai on the sidelines of the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC5 Conference) in Doha.

The two ministers discussed projects in cybersecurity, fintech and space technology, with Minister Poulev presenting opportunities for joint projects and partnerships with high-tech Bulgarian companies, research and development, technology transfer and digital connectivity.

Poulev highlighted the good partnership between the port infrastructure companies of the two countries and raised the issue of accelerating the signing of a maritime transport agreement. Minister Al Mannai asked Bulgaria to send the text of the agreement so that swift action could be taken to sign it.

According to Poulev, Bulgaria can become a regional hub in terms of the flow of digital information due to its key location for its transfer from Asia.

Another focus of the talks was the preparation of a memorandum of partnership to promote cooperation in priority areas for both countries related to high-tech processes and services, development and exchange of ideas. At the meeting, Minister Poulev also presented INSAIT – the first institute of its kind in Eastern Europe, which offers world-class research in the field of computer science, artificial intelligence and technology in Bulgaria. It was established in partnership with two of the world’s leading technological universities: the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne.

Poulev pointed out that Bulgarian fintech companies have already established and hired local employees in Southeast Asia and Africa.

“We have high-tech Bulgarian nanosatellite companies that are already successfully partnering with other countries in the region to provide early detection of natural disasters, minimize economic impact and save lives, as well as emerging Bulgarian cargo drone companies that can provide logistics services,” he said.

Minister for Innovation and Growth Alexander Poulev led the Bulgarian delegation to the LDC5 in Qatar. The high-level forum in Doha is attended by delegations from more than 150 countries, representatives of European institutions, chambers of commerce, investment promotion agencies, heads of UN funds, agencies and programmes, representatives of international institutions, international companies and others.