Foreign Economic Relations
Whereas Bhutan was once nearly totally dependent on
only for its development assistance but also for its
government revenue, it increasingly turned to various
organizations, such as the United Nations, the Colombo
World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, for loans.
1960s, Bhutan, through the Colombo Plan, has received aid
several countries in the form of farm machinery, motor
school books and laboratory equipment, livestock, seeds,
equipment, medicine, and refrigeration and irrigation
Participating countries included Japan, Australia, New
Britain, Austria, Switzerland, West Germany, and Canada.
Bank granted a US$9 million interest-free loan to help
development of a calcium carbide plant near Phuntsholing.
1990, total Asian Development Bank loans to Bhutan since
joined in 1982 amounted to US$30 million. In 1987 and 1988
the bank approved loans totalling more than US$6.9 million
the modernization of industrial estates and to provide
currency for the Bhutan Development Finance Corporation,
turn provided credit for agricultural projects and
businesses. Asian Development Bank loans to Bhutan for
projected at US$35 million, plus a grant of more than
million; the aid was for technical assistance.
The Sixth Development Plan saw increased involvement of
both through UN auspices and the non-profit Swiss
Helvetas (Swiss Association for Technical Assistance).
began providing funding to Bhutan in 1975 through
from association members and the Swiss government. In
example, Helvetas contributed Nu32.8 million (69 percent
foreign aid) to establish the Natural Resources Training
a two-year technical training school. The Japanese
Nu74 million in grants for agricultural development and
training equipment in 1990-91.
In 1989 the World Food Programme approved a two-year
project to establish food reserves that would help Bhutan
local emergencies and interruptions of food supplies. The
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
program to assist Bhutan in achieving food
Another form of aid received by Bhutan was through
international and foreign volunteer programs. A UN
program initiated in 1980 brought foreign specialists in
and advise in the areas of education, health, engineering,
husbandry, agriculture, and urban planning. By 1990 Japan,
Zealand, Britain, and Canada also were operating volunteer
In addition to the substantial aid it received, Bhutan
itself an aid giver. For example, in 1987 Bhutan provided
relief aid to the Maldives (Nu1 million), Bangladesh
million), and India (Nu5 million).
Data as of September 1991