BHUTAN ECONOMIC FORUM FOR INNOVATIVE TRANSFORMATION
2nd BIENNIAL SUMMIT
"Catalysing Cottage and Small Industries to Drive Bhutan's Economic Diversification"
16th to 18th July 2019
Catalysing CSIs to Drive Bhutan’s Economic Diversification
The theme for BEFIT 2019, “Catalysing Cottage and Small Industries to Drive Bhutan’s Economic Diversification” aligns with the objectives of Bhutan’s Twelfth Five Year Plan (2018-2023). The Royal Government has pledged to keep our economy secure by developing an inclusive, sustainable and equitable economy that contributes to Gross National Happiness. Accordingly, high importance has been accorded to promote Cottage and Small Industries in the Twelfth Five Year Plan, as this sector engages a significant number of people, generates employment and livelihood opportunities for many, and contributes towards maintaining our culture and identity. Strengthening and expanding this sector is also seen as being key to economic diversification and boosting economic activities in villages and local communities and enhancing income for rural areas.
The CSI sector also has the potential to address one of the most crucial economic challenges related to youth unemployment, which stands at 12.3 percent today. It is estimated that 81,686 new jobseekers with secondary and tertiary education will enter the labor market in the next five years. This challenge is likely to persist as Bhutan is a young nation with 45.8 percent of the total population estimated to be below the age of 24 years in 2017 while more than two third of the population are in the working age group. Given the lower entry barriers, the CSI sector holds the greatest potential to productively engage our youth.
Equitable Growth through Financial Inclusion
The inaugural BEFIT conference, the International Financial Inclusion Summit was hosted in Thimphu on May 24–26, 2017 on the theme of “equitable growth through financial inclusion”. The Summit was organized by the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan and the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation.