The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is opening an office in Bhutan in early 2013.

The bank needs a presence in the South Asian country in order to manage its growing portfolio of transport, energy and urban development more efficiently.

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

Bhutan’s government aims to achieve an annual economic growth rate of at least 9% by 2020. In fiscal year 2011/12, the ADB estimated a growth rate of 7.9%, and it forecasts a growth rate of 8.4% for 2012/13.

Bhutan joined the ADB in 1982. Since then, the bank has approved US$381.4mn in loans and grants, US$50.5mn in technical assistance and US$11.4mn in project grants for the country’s development.