Climbing is one of the draws for tourism, which accounted for 7.5% of GDP in 2017 ©Getty Images
Climbing is one of the draws for tourism, which accounted for 7.5% of GDP in 2017 ©Getty Images

Country spotlight: Nepal

posted by Alison Sanderlove
26 July 2019

Population
29,932,529

Area
147,181km2

The helicopter view
Located mainly in the Himalayas, it has borders with China and India. A parliamentary system was established in 1991, but in 2008 the monarchy was dissolved and Nepal was declared a democratic republic. The Nepal Communist Party remains in power.

Economic outlook
Nepal is one of the world’s least developed countries, with about a quarter of its population below the poverty line (CIA). The World Bank estimated its GDP as US$24.88bn in 2017. Agriculture provides a livelihood for almost two-thirds of the population. 

Biggest investors
Its key export and import partners are India, the US, Turkey and Germany, and the main exports are beverages and textiles. Another source of income is tourism, but the country has been criticised for issuing a record number of licences to climb Everest this year, with overcrowding being a contributory factor in the 11 deaths so far.

Supply chain issues
An earthquake in 2015 set back development. Additional challenges include its landlocked location, inconsistent electricity supply and poor infrastructure.

Strengths
Nepal’s hydropower industry has huge potential, with an estimated 42,000MW of commercially feasible capacity (CIA). The country has signed trade agreements with India and China, among others.

Challenges
The country suffers from a lack of skilled workforce, poor quality of education and poor capital flow. 

Bottom line
Nepal would benefit from foreign investment and a more stable political climate in coming years. 

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