Brand Bhutan to build public private partnerships and counter unemployment and poverty

Mar 19, 2014

19 March 2014, Thimphu; A new project on the promotion of Brand Bhutan will be signed between the Royal Government of Bhutan, UNDP Bhutan, supported by the Government of Japan through UNDP-Japan Partnership Fund on 20 March 2014. The project will be carried out by UNDP with the Ministry of Economic Affairs as the lead implementing partner. A total of USD 348,840 is allocated for 2014-2015 activities by the Japanese Government.

The project “Scaling up of income generation through traditional crafts and textiles production and marketing”, is designed for rural artisans to generate income and come out of poverty. It will ensure that Brand Bhutan maintains authenticity of Bhutanese products by making accessible micro-grants, refinement of design and marketing of the products. The project will also enhance public private partnership both in and outside the country.

UNDP’s Hideko Hadzialic says, “Having a high quality product is not enough, the next step is ensuring these products find a unique position in the market.” Further adding that Brand Bhutan’s promotion requires public-private partnerships and more involvement of young people for increased production capacity, innovative marketing and sales at a larger scale.

Bhutan’s economic vulnerability is at 52.9 per cent according to the 2009 UN Committee for Development Policy. Youth unemployment is reported at 7.3 per cent. Among the regularly employed, 17.2% earns less than Nu 1,000 a month.  A reported 95% of underemployed are engaged in the agricultural sector. To counter these challenges the project will support strengthening production capacity; advocacy and strategic marketing; enhancement of quality standards and product diversification catered to market needs; and access to credit facilities for sustained business development and income generation.

The overall project objective is to create income generation activities in both urban and rural areas to address underemployment and youth unemployment, a priority area for the 11th Five Year Plan of the Royal Government (July 2013 – June 2018), as well as in the One Programme/UNDAF (2014 – 2018).

Furthermore, the Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC) will be assigned to track income generating activities and employment through art and textile sector with disaggregated information on gender, age, geographic location and venerable population.

The project is expected to commence by March 2014.