ADB to open Bhutan office in early 2013


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will open an office in the South Asian nation of Bhutan in early 2013 to more efficiently manage a growing portfolio focusing on transport, energy and urban development.

“To understand Bhutan’s needs, and the development challenges it faces, ADB needs an on-the-ground presence,” said director general of South Asia Department Juan Miranda.

Bhutan has done well in achieving many Millennium Development Goals, but pockets of poverty still remain among its 720,000 people. As a landlocked nation, Bhutan needs to work closely with other countries to ensure it has efficient transport links, notably to seaports in Bangladesh, India, and elsewhere. Such regional cooperation is critical to ensuring the country’s future.

The Bhutanese government aims to achieve an economic growth rate of at least nine per cent each year to become a middle income country by 2020. Earlier this month, ADB estimated a growth rate of 7.9 per cent for the 2011-2012 fiscal year (ended on June 30), and forecast a growth rate of 8.4 per cent for the current fiscal year.

ADB’s future activities in Bhutan will be aligned with the government’s upcoming 11th Five Year Plan for 2013-2018, and will focus on transport, energy, and urban development.

Bhutan joined ADB in 1982. Since 1983, ADB has approved $ 381.37 million in loans and grants, $ 50.5 million in technical assistance, and $ 11.4 million in project grants from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction.

Some of the major projects Asian Development Bank has supported in recent years include the Green Power Development Project worth more than $ 100 million, to support the Dagachhu hydropower development and enhance renewable energy access for the poor, and the Road Network Projects I and II, totalling more than $ 65 million, to improve the country’s main road network, including the Trongsa-Gelephu Highway and southern East-West Highway.

Courtesy : The Himalayan Times