KATHMANDU: The International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction concluded in Kathmandu today, with the country securing funding commitment of around US$4.4 billion from nations and agencies for recovery and reconstruction in the aftermath of earthquakes.
The total funding commitment expressed during the conference — held exactly after two months of the devastating earthquake of April 25 — was almost 66 per cent of the country’s total recovery and reconstruction needs of $6.7 billion.
“The total funding pledge secured today was more than our expectation. We are glad countries and development partners made generous commitment,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat told journalists at a press meeting held after the concluding ceremony of the conference, which saw participation of almost 300 delegates from around 60 countries and agencies. Almost all of the countries and agencies that pledged financial assistance for Nepal said the money should reach the people — especially rural — truly affected by the quakes. They also called on the government to maintain transparency while spending the pledged funds.
Of the total commitment secured today, around $2.2 billion was in the form of grants and another $2.2 billion was in the form of loans, according to Mahat.
However, the portion of fresh funding commitments and the portion of pledges made on the basis of potential reallocation of funds from existing portfolio are not known.
Of the funding commitments made during the conference, the biggest (approximately $1 billion) came from India, which has expressed interest to support areas, such as agriculture, housing, roads and transport, electricity, health, education, cultural heritage and disaster risk reduction.
Another neighbouring country, China, pledged financial assistance of RMB 3 billion (approximately $489.53 million, or Rs 48.95 billion) for a period of 2016 to 2018. All of this assistance would be provided in the ‘form of grant’, according to Minister Mahat.
“With this, Chinese assistance for Nepal — including funds extended last year and this year — will reach RMB 4.7 billion,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
Japan pledged financial assistance of $260 million, while the US and the UK expressed commitment to extend $130 million and $110 million, respectively. The European Union pledged grant assistance of around $112 million.
Multilateral lending agencies that have been continuously supporting Nepal also made generous commitment during the conference.
The Asian Development Bank, for instance, pledged to extend $600 million, the World Bank pledged to provide $500 million and the International Monetary Fund expressed commitment to extend $50 million.
“A portion of funds pledged by the multilateral agencies were previously allocated for Nepal but were not used,” the minister said.
Among others, countries like Germany, Switzerland, Norway, South Korea, Finland, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan also pledged financial assistance to Nepal.
Minister Mahat said it was now the responsibility of the government to identify projects, so that the pledged funds could be used on time.
A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.