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How much should Bhutan worry about debt?

Yoichiro Ishihara's picture
Bhutan hydropower
Construction of the Dagachhu Hydropower Plant in Bhutan. Photo Credit: Asian Development Bank

In many respects, Bhutan has been a development success story. Its people have benefitted from decades of sharp reductions in poverty combined with impressive improvements in health and education. The country is a global model in environmental conservation. It is the first carbon negative country; Bhutan’s forests, which cover over 70% of the country, absorb more carbon dioxide than is produced by its emissions.

The Kingdom of Happiness also must grapple with the reality of managing budgets, creating infrastructure, and preparing its citizens to be able to create and take advantage of jobs of the future. To do that, we are working with closely with Bhutan to build the foundations for a more prosperous future through the cultivation of a vibrant private sector economy and supporting green development.

At the same time, Bhutan has invested generously in hydropower energy production to create a reliable and lasting source of green energy for its people. It also benefits from exporting excess electricity to neighboring India, whose energy needs continue to increase at a rapid pace with their growing economy.

In large part due to the hydropower investments, Bhutan’s public debt was 107 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as of March 2017. Hydropower external debt was at 77 percent of GDP with non-hydropower external debt accounting for 22 percent of GDP. Questions have arisen on whether this level of debt is sustainable and what should be done to address it.

World Bank guarantees help Pakistan get cheaper, longer term loans from international market

Enrique Blanco Armas's picture
Photo Credit: Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA)

Compared to their investment needs, developing countries have very limited concessional financing available to them. International commercial banks are constrained in terms of the size and tenors of credits to Emerging Markets and Developing Economies. A key challenge therefore, is to channel large savings and capital into productive investments in developing countries, partly by ‘de-risking’ investments and borrowings.  Pakistan is at the forefront of these efforts, recently making use of two World Bank guarantees to access over 1 billion US dollars in two international commercial loan financings.

A $420 million IBRD Policy Based Guarantee (PBG) was approved by the World Bank Board alongside a $500 million IDA credit in June 2016. The PBG guarantee partially takes over the risk of a commercial bank’s loan to a government. The PBG and the IDA credit supported a program of reforms including the adoption of a new and more inclusive poverty line, efforts to broaden the tax base, enhanced transparency of State Owned Enterprises, improved debt management and a significant overhaul of the regulatory framework of the financial sector.  Improved access to international financing through the PBG will reduce the government’s dependence on domestic financing and free up resources for private sector investment. The guarantee also signals the World Bank’s confidence in Pakistan’s economic reforms program – a signal that is particularly important after the successful completion of the IMF program. The government used the US$420 million PBG to partly guarantee a 10-year US$700 million loan, extending tenor significantly and achieving cost savings.  

இலங்கையின் வளர்ச்சிப் பாதை எவ்வாறு அமைந்திருக்கின்றது?

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | සිංහල

அண்மையில் இடம்பெற்ற சம்பியன்ஸ் கிண்ண கிரிக்கட் போட்டித் தொடரில் இலங்கை அணியினர் சிறப்பாகச் செயற்பட்டதாக சிலர் எண்ணம் கொண்டிருக்கலாம். அதில் நானும் அடங்குகின்றேன். ஆயினும் தொலைக்காட்சிகளிலும், சமூக வலைத்தளங்களிலும், ஏன் எமது அலுவலகத்தில் கூட காரசாரமான விவாதங்கள் முன்னெடுக்கப்பட்டு அவர்கள் அனைவருமே அணியினது பெறுபேறுகள் விடயத்தில் ஒருமித்த நிலைப்பாட்டைக் கொண்டிருக்கவில்லை என்பதை தெளிவாக்குகின்றது. 

தமது கருத்துக்களில் வேறுபாடுகளைக் கொண்டிருந்த போதிலும் உலகின் பல்வேறு பாகங்களில் இருக்கும் எனது பல சகபணியாளர்களும், நண்பர்களும் போட்டிகளில் உற்சாகத்தை வெளிப்படுத்தியும் எதிரணிகளை ஆதரித்தும் போட்டிகளை ஆய்வுக்குட்படுத்தியும், போட்டியைப் பாதிக்கும் களத்திற்கு வெளியிலான அரசியல் நிலைகுறித்து கருத்துக்களை வெளிப்படுத்தியும், வெற்றி ஈட்டியவர்கள் தோல்வியடைந்தவர்கள் குறித்து தீர்ப்பிடும் வகையிலான கருத்துக்களை வெளிப்படுத்தியும், தமது ஆர்வத்தைக் கண்ணுற்றிருந்தேன். ஏனைய அணிகளுடன் இந்தப் போட்டித் தொடரில் பங்கேற்பதற்கு இலங்கை அணியானது சர்வதேச ரீதியில் முதல் எட்டு  இடங்களுக்குள் இடம்பெறவேண்டியது அத்தியாவசியமானது என்பதே இங்கு முக்கியமான விடயமாகும். எவ்வாறு பொருளாதாரம் வளர்ச்சி காண்கின்றது மற்றும்  அங்கீரிக்கப்படுகின்றது என்பதற்கு இந்த ஒப்பீடானது பொருத்தமானதாக அமைந்துள்ளது. ஆகவே இந்த சிந்தனைகளை நினைவில் நிறுத்திவைத்துக்கொள்ளுங்கள்.

பத்திரிகைகள் இணையத்தளங்களில் பல கட்டுரைகளைப் படித்தபோது சமூக வலைத்தளங்களில் பல்வேறு கருத்துப் பகிர்வுகளை வாசித்தபோது ஒரு விடயம் தெளிவாக புலனாகியது. அது என்னவென்றால் இலங்கை எவ்வாறு வளர்ச்சி காண்கின்றது என்பது தொடர்பாக எந்தவகையிலான ஒருமித்த கருத்துக்களும் கிடையாது. இவற்றுடன் 4.4 சதவீத வளர்ச்சி வீதம் தொடர்பில் அபிவிருத்தியடைந்த நாடுகள் திருப்திப்பட்டுக்கொண்டாலும் இலங்கையில் அது ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளக்கூடியதற்கு மிகவும் குறைவானதாகவே நோக்கப்படும். இது வளர்ச்சி காண்கின்றதா என சிலர் கேள்வியெழுப்புகின்றனர். மாறாக அது தொடர்பில் பல்வேறு கருத்துநிலைப்பாடுகள் காணப்படுகின்றன. நம் ஒவ்வொருவரின் வாழ்விலும் ஏதோ ஒரு வகையில் தொடர்புபட்டுள்ள இந்த விடயம் தொடர்பில் குழப்பமான நிலைமைக்கு இது வழிகோலிநிற்கின்றது.

ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ආර්ථික වර්ධන ප්‍ර‍ගතිය පිළිබඳ හැරී බලමු

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: English | தமிழ்

මෑතකදී  නිමාව දුටු ශූරයන්ගේ කුසලාන තරගාවලියේදී ශ්‍රී ලංකා ක්‍රිකට් කණ්ඩායම හොඳින් ක්‍රීඩා කළ බව ඇතැමෙක් සිතන්නට ඉඩ ඇත. රූපවාහිනිය හා සමාජ මාධ්‍ය තුළ ද, මා ද ඇතුළු අපගේ කාර්යල සගයන් අතර අපගේ කාර්යාලයේ දී ද මේ ගැන ඇති වූ දැඩි විවාද පැහැදිලිවම යෝජනා කළේ ඔවුන්ගේ තරගකාරී බව ගැන සැවොම සතුටු නොවන බවයි. මේ විවිධ වාද විවාද අතරතුර, ලෝකයේ විවිධ කලාපවලින් පැමිණි මාගේ වෘත්තීය සගයින් සහ මිතුරු මිතුරියන් උණුසුම් ලෙස ජයඝෝෂා නගන අයුරුත්, තරග සමාලෝචනය කරන අයුරුත්, එකිනෙකට ප්‍ර‍තිවිරුද්ධ කණ්ඩායම්වලට සහයෝගය දක්වන අයුරුත්, ක්‍රීඩාව කෙරෙහි බලපාන දේශපාලනය ගැන විමසා බලන අයුරුත් සමග ජයග්‍රාහකයින් හා පරාජිතයින් පිළිබඳ පූර්ව විනිශ්චයන් ලබා දෙන අයුරුත් මම දුටුවෙමි. මෙහි ප්‍ර‍ධානතම කරුණ නම් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට ජාත්‍යන්තර ක්‍රිකට් වර්ගීකරණයේ අටවන ස්ථානයේ රැඳී සිටීමට සෙසු රටවල් සමග තරග වැදිය යුතුව තිබීමයි. ආර්ථික වර්ධනය සිදුවන ආකාරය ද විවිධ මතවාදවලට ලක් වෙමින් මෙම ක්‍රිකට් සම්බන්ධ උදාහරණය සමග හොඳින් ගැලපෙයි. අපි ඒ සිතුවිල්ල පිළිබඳ සාකච්ඡා කරමු.

පුවත්පත්වල නොඑසේනම් අන්තර්ජාලයේ සංසරණය වන බොහෝ ප්‍ර‍වෘත්තිමය ලිපි කියවීමෙන්, නොඑසේනම් සමාජ මාධ්‍ය හරහා හුවමාරු වන පුරවැසියන්ගේ අදහස් විමසා බැලීමෙන් එක් දෙයක් පැහැදිලි වේ. එනම් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ආර්ථික සංවර්ධනය සිදුවන ආකාරය පිළිබඳ සියල්ලන්ම එකඟ වන අදහසක් දක්නට නොමැති බවයි. සංවර්ධිත රටවල් සළකා බලන විට ඉහළ වර්ධන වේගයක් වන 4.4%, සංවර්ධනය වෙමින් පවතින හා ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ හැකියාවන් මට්ටමෙන් ගත් කළ පහළ අගයක් ලෙස ඇතැමුන් තර්ක කරයි. මේ අතර සමහරෙක් ‘ ඇත්තටම වර්ධනය වෙනවාම දැයි‘අසති! මෙහි ප්‍ර‍තිඵලය වී ඇත්තේ සෑමදෙනාටම කුමන හෝ ආකාරයකින් වැදගත් වන ගැටළුවක් ගැන අපැහැදිලි චිත්‍ර‍යක් නිර්මාණය වී තිබීමයි.

වසරකට දෙවරක් ලෝක බැංකුව දිවයිනෙහි ආර්ථික පසුබිම පිළිබඳ දත්ත සහ විශ්ලේෂණ ඉදිරිපත් කරයි. ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ආර්ථික වර්ධනය කුමක් ද? ආර්ථික වර්ධනය වේගවත් කිරීමට සිදු කළ යුත්තේ මොනවා ද? ඒ සඳහා සහාය වීමට පුරවැසියන් සිදු කළ යුත්තේ කුමක් ද?  වැනි ගැටළුවලට පිළිතුරු දීමට එහිදී අපි උත්සාහ දරමු. ක්‍රිකට් ක්‍රීඩාව අනුව අතිදක්ෂ ක්‍රීඩකයකුට වුව කිසිවකුගේ දිරිගැන්වීමක් නොලැබේ නම්, ඔහුගේ උනන්දුව හීන වී ගොස් ඔහු අසාර්ථක වන බව අපි දනිමු. එවැනි තත්වයක් අවසානයේ ක්‍රීඩාව පිළිබඳ උද්යෝගයද වියැකී ගොස් කණ්ඩායමේ ශ්‍රේණිගත කිරීම්වලින් පහත වැටීමට ද හේතු විය හැක. දෙපාර්ශවයම කුමක්, කෙසේ, කා විසින් දිනාගත යුතු දැයි වටහාගත යුතු අතර තරගයකදී කණ්ඩායමක් සාර්ථක නොවූ විට තරගයේ කුමන අංශය වෙනස් කළ යුතු දැයි පැහැදිලි කරගත යුතු ය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාව ක්‍රිකට් ක්‍රිඩාවේ දැවැන්තයෙක් බවට පත්වූයේ එපරිද්දෙනි.  

How does Sri Lanka score in growth?

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Also available in: සිංහල | தமிழ்

While some may think the Sri Lanka’s cricket team did well in the recent Champion's Trophy, myself included, vigorous debates have been going on, on TV and social media and even here in our office which clearly suggests that not everyone agrees on their performance. Despite these differences in perspective, I witnessed the excitement of many of my colleagues and friends from different parts of the world as they cheered, supported opposing teams, analyzed the games, and mulled the behind the scenes politics that affect the game, and also passed judgements on winners and losers.  The key point here is that for Sri Lanka to be in the top 8 internationally they had to play other countries. This analogy fits well with how economies grow and are recognized; so hold on to this thought. 

Reading through the many articles in the news, be they paper, internet or just exchanges between citizens on social media, one thing is clear, there is no one unified view on how Sri Lanka is growing. While developed countries would salivate at a growth rate of 4.4 percent, in Sri Lanka it is considered below potential. Some even question if it’s growing! The result is a confusing landscape on an important issue that touches everyone in some way.   

Twice a year the World Bank adds data and analyses to the many out there. We try to answer questions such as: what is Sri Lanka’s actual growth? Which parts of the economy have grown and which have not? If the country is to accelerate growth, what needs to be done? What can its people do to help? We know from cricket that the players can be excellent but if no-one cheers for them, they lose interest and cannot be successful. Eventually the game loses its luster and the competitive edge of the country’s ranking also slips. Both sides need to understand what needs to be achieved, how, by whom and when the team doesn’t quite deliver in a match, what part of the game should they change. This is what has made Sri Lanka a cricket powerhouse.

Good luck and good policies

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

In Brazil, where I come from, we are crazy about football, so I grew up listening to football matches. At the end of a match, the reporters would interview the main scorer of the day, who would often say that he was just lucky to receive the ball at the right place.
The commentator would then say that “good luck is a combination of ability and opportunity”. This story comes to mind when thinking of India’s economy over the past two years.
India has been lucky indeed. In the fiscal year ending March 2016 (FY16), the sharp decline in oil prices generated what economists call a positive “terms-of-trade” shock, which lifted growth.
A terms-of-trade shock means that the things you buy suddenly become cheaper relative to the things you sell, allowing you to buy more things.

In the fiscal year that just ended, CSO data that was released recently shows that the good monsoons helped agriculture propel growth. Notwithstanding disruption from demonetization, agricultural wages have continued to grow, along with their purchasing power as rural inflation declined.

But India has also implemented good policies, which allowed it to take advantage of the external shocks. The government took advantage of declining oil prices to eliminate fuel subsidies and hike taxes on carbon-emitting petroleum products, a win for the environment and a win for the exchequer.

New Zealand has much to offer the world

Annette Dixon's picture
New zealand - World maps on line
New Zealand Map.  Photo Credit: Academia maps GeoAtlas

When people think about New Zealand’s most famous son, Sir Edmund Hillary, they mostly think about the quiet Auckland bee-keeper who conquered Everest in 1953.

Of course, there’s much more to the man. He raised money for the Sherpa communities in Nepal that built schools, hospitals and much more. His commitment to the people of South Asia was also reflected in his successful term in the 1980s as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India.

As the most senior New Zealander in the management of the World Bank, I have come to appreciate Sir Edmund’s commitment to the people of South Asia and believe it shows how much New Zealand can offer the world.  This will not only make the world a better place but can also help New Zealand too.

What can fuel India's Growth?

Frederico Gil Sander's picture


The World Bank is releasing its flagship report highlighting the state of the Indian economy, its future growth prospects, the impact of the recent currency exchange on the economy, and the benefits that the progress on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will have moving forward. 

Six innovations from the Digital Youth Summit that inspired me

Joe Qian's picture
What do speakers say about the Digital Youth Summit?
What foreign speakers say about DYS17!

Foreign delegates to Digital Youth Summit 2017 reflect on their experiences, and the bright minds of youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Many thanks to all the foreign delegates for visiting Peshawar from May 5-7, 2017! #DYS17 #KPITB #KPGoesTech #KPWentTech Imran Khan (official)Shahram Khan Tarakai Official Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board - KPITB World Bank South Asia Jazz USAID Pakistan UNDP Pakistan Gloria Jean's Coffees Pakistan Anna O'Donnell Sam Bretzfield Iliana Montauk Justin Wong Alexander Ferguson Max Krueger Nicola Magri

Posted by Digital Youth Summit on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Entrepreneurs and technologists from Pakistan and around the world converged last week at the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) in Peshawar to share their knowledge, inspire local talent, and bring digital investments.

Over four days, 4,000 attendees, some as young as age 10, interacted with industry leaders, engaged in technology demonstrations, and benefitted from hands-on training. Everyone learnt a lot about digital entrepreneurship and was inspired by many cutting-edge innovations.

Here are six of them that struck a high note with me:
Most sessions at #DYS17 were livestreamed by Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK. Photo Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank
  1. Sessions on Facebook Live. Did you miss the summit, want to learn more about digital entrepreneurship, or simply want to relive highlights of DYS? Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK livestreamed many sessions at DYS. Inspired to start or grow your own business after watching the sessions? There are also resources to support you at the National Incubation Center and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Youth Employment Program!
    Travel Across Pakistan
  2. Travel Startups that made me want to travel across Pakistan. Let’s face it, I have a serious case of wanderlust and few things make me happier than going to new places, connecting with people, and gaining insights and perspectives I was unaware of before. For people outside of Pakistan may know of it as a country full of beauty and tourism potential. However, two of the winners of DYS’s Startup Cup in which budding companies presented their products and services to prospective investors changed my perspectives. Watch these two videos made by travel platform Find My Adventure and home-sharing company Qayyam and tell me if they also inspire you to travel across Pakistan!

په افغانستان کې د نړیوال بانک د بیا همکاریو د پیل د پنځلسمې کالیزې نمانځنه

Raouf Zia's picture
Also available in: English | دری

نړیوال بانک په افغانستان کې خپل فعالیتونه پر ۱۹۷۹ میلادی کال د پخواني شوروي اتحاد له یرغل څخه وروسته و ځندول. ددې ادارې فعالیتونه د ۲۰۰۲ میلادي کال د می په میاشت کې د افغانانو له ضروري اړتیاوو څخه د ملاتړ او ددې هېواد له دولت سره ددې هېواد اتباعوته د خدمتونو د برابرولو له پاره د پیاوړو او ځواب ویونکو بنسټونو د رامینځته کولو په منظور بیاپیل شول.

د می میاشت په کابل کې د نړیوال بانک د فعالیتونو د بیا پیل له نمانځنې سره سمون لري چې په ۲۰۰۲ کال کې وروسته له ډیر ځنډ څخه دفتر پرانیستل شو. د نړیوال بانک له ۱۵ لاسته راوړنو او مهمو فعالیتونو سره په تیرو ۱۵ کلونو کې آشنا شۍ.