Bhutan and World Bank Group Strengthen Part­ner­ship for Sus­tain­able and In­clu­sive De­vel­op­ment

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

T he FI­NAN­CIAL -The Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan and the World Bank Group (WBG) agreed to strengthen their part­ner­ship in sup­port of sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing cre­ation of more and bet­ter jobs. They as­sessed the progress of their on­go­ing part­ner­ship pro­gram and agreed to ad­just it by dou­bling the World Bank fi­nan­cial sup­port to Bhutan to more than $100 mil­lion in the next three years.

The cur­rent Coun­try Part­ner­ship Strat­egy of the WBG in Bhutan cov­ers the pe­riod from July 2014 to June 2019. The Per­for­mance and Learn­ing Re­view (PLR) of the strat­egy, launched ear­lier this week, as­sesses the im­ple­men­ta­tion progress of the strat­egy to date and, based on the as­sess­ment, ad­justs the WBG pro­gram dur­ing the re­main­ing pe­riod of the strat­egy, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank.

“In many re­spects, Bhutan has been a de­vel­op­ment suc­cess story. Its peo­ple have ben­e­fit­ted from decades of sharp re­duc­tions in poverty com­bined with im­pres­sive im­prove­ments in health and ed­u­ca­tion,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Coun­try Di­rec­tor for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “Dur­ing the next three years, the World Bank will strengthen its sup­port to Bhutan for sus­tain­able and in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing cre­ation of more and bet­ter jobs.”

The PLR rec­og­nizes that, build­ing on the prin­ci­ples of Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness, Bhutan has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in all three pri­or­ity ar­eas of the cur­rent part­ner­ship strat­egy, in­clud­ing fis­cal and spend­ing ef­fi­ciency, pri­vate sec­tor growth and com­pet­i­tive­ness, and green de­vel­op­ment. The PLR notes that the WBG will ex­pand its en­gage­ment across all these ar­eas.

Dur­ing the next three years, the World Bank plans to dou­ble the coun­try al­lo­ca­tion to Bhutan to more than $100 mil­lion with more fa­vor­able lend­ing terms, in­clud­ing a zero per­cent in­ter­est rate among oth­ers.

“The World Bank Group has been sup­port­ing the Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan though fi­nanc­ing, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, and an­a­lyt­i­cal work,” said Nim Dorji, Sec­re­tary of Fi­nance, Min­istry of Fi­nance, Royal Gov­ern­ment of Bhutan. “Strength­en­ing our col­lab­o­ra­tion is crit­i­cal to achieve our com­mit­ments in the 11th five-year plan as well as to kick-start im­ple­men­ta­tion of the 12th five-year plan.”

The King­dom of Bhutan and the WBG have had a long stand­ing re­la­tion­ship, cul­mi­nat­ing in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Coun­try Of­fice in 2011. Bhutan be­came the mem­ber of the World Bank (In­ter­na­tional Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment (IBRD) and In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (IDA)) in 1981 fol­lowed by its mem­ber­ship with the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC) in 2003 and the Mul­ti­lat­eral In­vest­ment Guar­an­tee Agency (MIGA) in 2014. The WBG’s part­ner­ship with Bhutan is fully aligned with the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment vi­sion as en­vi­sioned in its Con­sti­tu­tion, Bhutan Vi­sion 2020, and the 11th five-year plan.

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