Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a small country that sits on the Himalayas’ eastern edge in south Asia. The nation is considered one of the world’s least developed countries, and agriculture is at least 80 percent of Bhutan’s economy. Bhutan has made significant strides in development in recent years, and has been able to maintain solid growth and economic stability.
In 2017, The World Bank approved and funded five development projects in Bhutan. These projects are an effort to further the economic growth of the country.
1. Bhutan BLSS Economic Census
BLSS stands for Bhutan Living Standard Survey and was reintroduced in February 2017. It is a household survey that is taken by the National Statistics Bureau. The survey was previously conducted in 2003, 2007 and 2012. After its introduction in February, the survey was again taken in March 2017. The survey provides many critical indicators, such as the national poverty line and National Accounts statistics.
2. Preparation of Strategic Program for Climate Resilience
The Preparation of Strategic Program for Climate Resilience was introduced in February 2017 and will be completed by September 2019. This long-term plan is meant to help Bhutan improve national climate resilience. The project will build on ongoing activities in Bhutan to incorporate climate resilience in development planning. Bhutan then plans to use the project to help create a climate-resilient investment plan for the country.
3. Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project
The Food Security and Agriculture Productivity Project was introduced in April 2017 and will be completed by December 2022. The project’s goal is to combat Bhutan’s reliance on food imports and to increase local agriculture. Since Bhutan is mainly an agriculture country, this increase will also help lower unemployment and reduce poverty.
4. Bhutan Youth Employment and Rural Entrepreneurship Project
The Bhutan Youth Employment and Rural Entrepreneurship Project was introduced in May 2017 and as of yet, has no closing date. The project’s goal is to increase employment opportunities in Bhutan, specifically for youth; many of the opportunities created are in agriculture. With more job opportunities, the Bhutanese economy will continue to improve as a result of this project.
5. Strengthening Public Financial Management Project
The Strengthening Public Financial Management Project was introduced in September 2017 and will conclude in January 2021. The project’s goal is to help the Bhutanese manage their budget and public funds more efficiently. This will help the development and strengthening of public services and governance.
With the approval of these five development projects in Bhutan, The World Bank has loaned the Royal Government of Bhutan over 15 million U.S. dollars. The World Bank has worked closely with Bhutan since 1998 when Bhutan’s first project was approved.
The goal of these five development projects in Bhutan is to increase employment opportunities, decrease national poverty and strengthen Bhutan’s economy. Though it is still too early to see any significant changes since these five development projects in Bhutan were implemented, these efforts have laid a satisfying groundwork for the Bhutanese to build on.
– Courtney Wallace