Thimphu, June 15, 2017 — 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.
“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.