If available resources are better utilised Nepal can certainly become a global competitor in the world market
During business conferences and talks, we often come across the jargon that Nepal is located between two rising economic giants China and India, however, in rhetoric the states of both these nations that border Nepal are among the least preferred zones of economy and economic growth. Since primary school days I have been hearing Nepal having great potential in agriculture, tourism and mostly hydropower, however till date we are witness to these sectors in a deep struggle, while foreign aid and remittance are the income of the nation and young people seek for jobs in national and international non-government agencies for a better career and secured income versus corporates, banks and new business ventures, which would rather be the top priorities in a developed country.
During the time, I have filmed and interacted with my guests on the television show ‘Power Talks’ with several diplomats, bureaucrats and experts from around the world, I have extensively discussed the economy and growth of Nepal. I have been enlightened by fresh perspectives, insights and futuristic approach during such tasteful conversations, and I feel it my duty to share.
The former Ambassador of Israel to Nepal, HE Dan Stavwho who currently serves in the Foreign Ministry of Israel expressed to me — “Nepal is a paradise for tourists. Its potential in being able to harness the water resources available to it for hydropower is unparalleled in the world. There is so much energy in the Nepali people and the most important factor in terms of human resources is that the citizens are willing to work. The reason the Nepali economy has not been up to par with its South Asian neighbours is its inability to channel its human resources in the right direction. Political instability in the nation has caused it problems that can be solved if the political parties here are willing to set aside from their differences and work together.
The reason the Nepali economy has not been up to par with its South Asian neighbours is its inability to channel its human resources in the right direction
Israel has become a global leader in telecommunications. Nepal has a lot of potential in this sector. The global market for telecommunications has become saturated but that has not been the case in Nepal because, as a developing nation it has just opened its doors to this new prospective.”
With HE Hong SungMog, former Ambassador of South Korea to Nepal who currently serves at Korea’s Foreign Ministry, I had a chance to discuss the challenges that Korea faced during the cold war in maintaining its sovereignty and how today it has transformed into an economic powerhouse and one of the four Asian Tigers.
He shared, “South Korea is in a region that is heavily contested for influence between China, Russia and Japan. As a young nation having just survived the onslaught of the Korean War, we were not an economically prosperous nation. Previously it was always South Korea alone on one side whilst the other nations were on the opposing side. We have overcome these challenges by treating these countries not as threats but rather as markets for our goods and services. Similarly, Nepal can follow this example and instead of being threatened by these two giant economies India and China on its borders, it should rather focus on strengthening economic ties with them and work towards narrowing down the trade deficit it has in the global market.”
In the past Nepal counted agriculture and farming as a major source of national GDP. In today’s time, the farmers are not considered the drivers of Nepal’s economy. The former bureaucrat and diplomat Thosapala Hewage of Sri Lanka, also an agriculture nation, shared with me — “Tea accounts for almost 19 per cent of the exports of Sri Lanka. ‘Ceylon Tea’ is renowned across the world for its exquisite touch. The brand Dilmah has programmes that can aid Nepali tea producers in being able to refine their products to international standards.”
The lack of education and technical know-how has definitely undermined the potential to market our agricultural goods and products, which are still limited to local markets and varying market price.
No doubt, Nepal as a nation is incredibly rich in natural resources and beauty has been designated a spot in the ranks of other developing nations which do not have the capabilities and potential of Nepal to succeed in the global spectrum.
The economic possibilities that are in Nepal are so unique to this topographical region that if the human resources that are already available to us were to be better trained, educated, motivated and put to work Nepal can certainly become not just a regional but a global competitor in the world market.
The author is the anchor and producer for the television show 'Power Talks' and the President of international think-tank Today's Youth Asia, based in Kathmandu. You can reach him at TodaysYouthAsia@gmail.com