The World Bank and the Royal Government of Bhutan signed a new project to support Bhutan in creating jobs for its young people and promoting broader economic diversification in the country on 23 January.
Bhutan has made impressive progress in poverty reduction and economic growth over the past decade. At the same time, there is an increasing pressure from rising youth unemployment. Job creation for young people remains a challenge, given the current mismatch between employment opportunities and youth education, skills, expectations, and market needs. The project aims to bring innovation in youth employment approaches in Bhutan.
“Based on the principles of social enterprise, this project aims at creating 400 direct new jobs for the out-of-school and unemployed young people in 6 dzongkhags in Southwestern Bhutan,” said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. “We at the World Bank are excited to partner with Bhutan on this important initiative.”
Bhutan is an agrarian economy where a majority of the population live in rural areas and depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. The agriculture, livestock and forestry currently employ about 58 percent of the total population. The new project will support rural enterprise development and creation of value chains, thus creating employment opportunities and improving incomes in the rural areas.
“This project is very timely as it will generate youth employment including enterprise and value chain development and as a result stimulate the younger generation to take greater interest in the agriculture sector as a source of self-employment and businesses,” said Yeshey Penjor, Finance Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The 3-year Youth Employment and Rural Entrepreneurship Project will be financed by a US$1.25 million grant provided by the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).