WB, IFC to have their offices in Thimphu

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Dec 11: The largest American bank, World Bank (WB), has nominated Mark F LaPrairie as its first representative to Bhutan, who presented his Foreign Minister Ugyen Tshering recently.

The bank plans to open its branch in Thimphu by 2010. Bhutan became the member of the bank in 1981. Along with WB, its partner International Finance Corporation will also have its office in Thimphu under the leadership of by David Martz.

Since then, Bhutan has received some USD123 million support, including grants. This year, the bank announced to provide over USD113 million in the next three years. From the three arms in Bhutan, the Bank said it has committed US$ 73m (about Nu 3.4b) through the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) and US$ 40m (about Nu 1.9b) through the International Development Asociation (IDA). 

The World Bank’s assistance to Bhutan are in forestry, education, health, transport, infrastructure, agriculture, macro-economic planning and fiduciary functioning.

Mark LaPrairie first came to Bhutan in 1988 under a Canadian volunteer teacher program. He taught in primary and junior high schools for three years in Trashigang and Pemagatshel districts and since 1997 he is working as education officer for UNICEF Thimphu.

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