Why Bhutan

Why Bhutan

"Geological surveys have revealed an array of valuable mineral deposits in Bhutan, but mining remains a slow-growing portion of the economy. Calcium carbide—the country’s main mineral export—limestone, dolomite, gypsum, coal, marble, quartzite, and talc are the primary products of the country’s mining activities. Other minerals, extracted in smaller quantities, include slate, beryl, pyrite, and various gemstones, as well as a number of metals, such as lead, copper, tin, iron, and silver.

Manufacturing, which began in Bhutan about 1970, has grown considerably, with four industries—producing cement, chemicals, wood products, and processed foods—arising as pillars of the sector by the early 21st century. The rapid expansion of these and other industries in both the public and private sectors is attributable largely to the availability of sufficient power (and proceeds) from the country’s hydroelectric projects. Nearly all Bhutan’s manufacturing centres are located in the south, close to the Indian border. Phuntsholing, with nearly half of Bhutan’s manufacturing activity, is the largest industrial centre.

The services sector—including primarily public administration and defense, finance, trade and restaurants, and public utilities—generates more than two-fifths of Bhutan’s GDP, despite engaging a smaller proportion of the country’s workforce."

Bhutan - Small country, high potential

1. Hydro Power

Bhutan's small and less developed economy, is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry. Its largest export – hydropower to India – has been a key driver for sustainable growth and Bhutan has an impressive annual hydropower potential of 118,260 GWh. It is currently building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 MW, as agreed with India in 2008.

2. Health & Herbal Medicine

About 300 out of 600 identified medicinal species in Bhutan are commonly used to prepare drugs. Certain minerals from the forest (belzab, chingsi, chuigang, dhojui, dho-phawang, dragshum, thingsi, tsage tsang, etc.) and animal parts are incorporated in the drugs for the Bhutanese system of medicine called gso-ba-rig-pa. Bhutan has more than 300 species in the alpine zone that are used in Chinese and Tibetan traditional medicine

Medicinal and herbal products have an extremely good exploitable potential in Bhutan which, till date, has not been fully explored or studied in detail in terms of sustainable development of “Made in Bhutan” traditional medicines for the world market. Bhutan has hundreds of plants with medicinal and aromatic properties to meet the rising demand for herbal products for use in cosmetics and health care products in key markets like India and other Asian, Middle East and Western countries. Bhutan trades most of its medicinal and aromatic plants in raw material form.

3. Information & Communication Technologies

The enormous opportunities that exist in IT and related fields should be exploited. Private institutions, entrepreneurs, schools and interested individuals should be encouraged to participate in the promotion of this important technology. The Telecom services, E-governance services and IT services like ITES/ BPO services, Financial services like Accounting and Auditing, Data Processing, Back office services, Business Process Outsourcing services – all provide avenues for profitable investment.

4. Manufacturing for Regional and Global Markets

Bhutanese firms have completely unrestricted access to neighboring India’s market. According to a 2019 study by World Economic Forum and Bain, India’s households will spend $6 trillion annually by 2030, a four-fold increase on 2019.

Bhutan has duty-free and quota-free access to the US and EU markets, with the exception of arms. It’s also a member of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement. Exporting to neighboring China is possible.

5. Negligible Electricity Cost

Bhutan produces electricity using the Hydro Power Plants spread across the nation. The electricity produced in huge surplus amounts that Bhutan's electricity exports makes up a huge portion of the GDP.
Due to the cheap electricity availability, manufacturing costs is not only lower but also allows room for your wildest imaginations.

Source: Ministry of Economic Affairs

Hydro Power Plant


ICT in Bhutan

Textile in Bhutan

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