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IFC to Help Spur Bhutan’s Economic Growth, Promote Private Sector Development


In New Delhi:
Minakshi Seth
Phone: +91 11 4111 1000
E-mail: mseth@ifc.org

Thimphu, Bhutan, December 1, 2009─Rashad Kaldany, Vice President for Middle East and North Africa, East and South Asia, and Global Infrastructure of IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today met with Lyonchhen Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan, to announce IFC’s commitment to the country’s private sector development.
       
IFC is opening an office in Thimphu, Bhutan and will work closely with the International Bank for Reconstruction to enable the private sector to take a more active role in the country’s economic growth.

“IFC sees great potential in Bhutan. We believe that the country can grow rapidly in the near future,” said Kaldany. “I have offered IFC’s services and experience both as an advisor to the government and as a financier to private sector, in developing infrastructure projects especially in hydropower, air transportation, tourism, and telecommunications,” said Kaldany, who also shared with the Prime Minister IFC’s ability to help simplify regulation and improve the investment climate.

Kaldany also had meetings with Finance Minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu and discussed IFC’s commitment to strengthening the financial sector. He also met with private sector leaders to explore opportunities for private sector projects.

Since Bhutan became an IFC member country in 2003, IFC has made a $10 million investment in a hotel project and in other important initiatives, including advice and training to local financial institutions, feasibility studies for an IT park and industrial estates, women entrepreneurship development programs, establishment of a knowledge center, and promotion of an SME toolkit.

IFC also helped Bhutan’s state-owned airline, Drukair, to complete a review for improving operational performance. Many of the recommendations from the study are being implemented.

IFC Advisory Services and the World Bank are working closely with the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan to establish a nationwide electronic payments system. A comprehensive survey of the small and medium enterprise sector in Bhutan is underway that will be used by the government to develop the country’s SME strategy.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by supporting private sector projects in Bhutan.

To learn more about IFC’s activities in South Asia, visit
www.ifc.org/southasia.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.