Bhutan Country Economic Update : Accelerating Growth and Poverty Reduction

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This report was prepared to help the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) meet its felt need for more economic analysis and policy advice. It also seeks to provide information to a wider audience of development partners and interested parties. Over the past 25 years, Bhutan has been developing rapidly, pursuing sound economic policies, exploiting hydropower, and enjoying strong support from external development partners. Solid growth continues to raise per capita income and support improvements in social indicators. Through the prism of these four elements, this report seeks to contribute to the policy discussion by providing an integrative analysis and update of the Bhutanese economy, as well as developing a set of key recommendations and issues that warrant consideration or further study. Section two describes ongoing governance reforms, outlines the objectives articulated in Bhutan's Vision 2020 document and the Ninth Five-Year Plan (Ninth Plan), discusses the poverty reduction strategy, and notes progress towards meeting the millennium development goals. Section three examines recent economic developments, including growth, the balance of payments, and external debt. Section four analyzes macroeconomic policy, highlighting the challenge of fiscal volatility and the need to manage expectations surrounding the coming on-stream of the giant hydropower project Tala. Section five discusses several structural aspects of public resource management, including ongoing fiscal and financial management reforms, the importance of avoiding the 'natural resource curse,' and the treatment of state owned enterprises. Section six investigates the role of strengthening the investment climate for facilitating private sector development. Section seven comments on the prospects for accelerating growth, looking at the development of additional hydropower resources, construction, tourism, and agribusiness, emphasizing that while hydropower will continue to drive economic growth, tourism and value added activities in agriculture will be central to boosting growth and generating broad-based employment. Section eight concludes with medium term development prospects and challenges.
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World Bank. 2007. Bhutan Country Economic Update : Accelerating Growth and Poverty Reduction. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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