Comparative Analysis of the FDI’s Spatial Localization Models in the Danube Provinces of Bulgaria
Abstract: The Danube provinces of Bulgaria are among the least developed NUTS3 regions in the country and in the EU. From that point of view, overcoming of their socio-economic underdevelopment is not only of particular interest for the Bulgarian regional policy, but is also at the base of realizing a successful strategy for sustainable territorial development of the cross-border region Romania-Bulgaria. Being a key factor in the discourse of regional development, the FDI should be scrutinized in a view to uncover the main regularities and trends in these provinces, as well as potentials and perspectives ahead of the separate administrative units. The analysis of some key indicators connected with the dynamics and distribution of the FDI stocks and their per capita ratio, with the FDI density, and with the proportion FDI-GDP, demonstrates the lack of a distinct and typical for all Danube provinces of Bulgaria trend in the investment activity. However, we find out a common feature in their spatial localization models – the predominant concentration of FDI in the regional centres. The study also discloses the correlations between sectoral structure and FDI supplies, as well as the FDI’s role for the changes in some key economic, social, and demographic indicators’ values in these provinces. The quantitative analysis’ results are complemented with qualitative characteristics of the processes as we put special emphasis on factors such as: the insufficient capacity for creating agglomeration effects; the lack of clusterization based on joint initiatives of the provinces; the relatively weak impact of the free trade zones and the industrial zones; the poor connectivity with the national transport system. The elaborated systematic territorial study of the foreign investments’ spatial models in the Danube provinces of Bulgaria is a solid base for designing/implementing a differentiated, adequate, flexible, and proactive regional and local policies.