The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has opened a new office in Bhutan in an ongoing effort to strengthen the south Asian country’s economy.
Takehiko Nakao, president of the bank, says that Bhutan has seen high economic growth and made “remarkable progress” in reducing poverty and achieving United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Nakao adds that more is needed to be done to help Bhutan diversify its economy, develop its private sector, and tackle youth unemployment. Bhutan’s economy grew by 8.4% in 2013, according to the ADB.
The ADB is currently financing a number of projects in Bhutan, one of which is a US$30mn project that aims to sustainably develop Phuentsholing and Thimphu, two of Bhutan’s largest municipalities, and Dagana, a regional centre. The project is to expand water supply, drainage and sanitation, improve urban roads, and strengthen urban management.
The ADB is also supporting hydropower development in Bhutan, including the Dagachhu hydropower plant, which will send electricity to India and generate key export revenue for the country.
Bhutan has been a member of the ADB since 1982 and since then the bank has provided about US$340mn in loans and US$120mn in grants for development. Key projects have included rural electrification, power sector reforms, roads and urban infrastructure.