Nepal is one of the
world’s least developed countries, with one of the lowest per capita
GDP (around US$200 per annum). Although little of the land can be
cultivated, 90 per cent of the working population finds employment in
agriculture and forestry. Foodstuffs and live animals provide about 30
per cent of Nepal’s export earnings. The principal crops are maize,
rice, barley, wheat, sugar cane, potatoes and fruit. The manufacturing
sector is very small and concentrated in light industries such as
construction materials, food processing, textiles and carpet-making
(the latter being an important export earner).
The country has a considerable hydroelectric potential which would
save Nepal from having to import much of its energy requirements, but
the sector is as yet underdeveloped. There is some mining of mica and
small quantities of lignite, copper, coal and iron ore. The main
service industry, tourism, has gone into decline since the late 1990s.
In 2001, Nepal recorded growth of just two per cent, the lowest figure
for over a decade. The country runs a large trade deficit and relies
on substantial amounts of foreign aid, especially food aid.
(International donors provide about 30 per cent of the Government’s
budget.) India is the main trading partner, although following the
1989/90 dispute which led to the closure of the border between the two
countries, Nepal has actively pursued trade links elsewhere.
Agreements have also been signed with several other governments, of
which that with China is the most important. Nepal is a member of the
Asian Development Bank and the Colombo Plan, both of which aim to
promote regional economic co-operation. In addition to its remote,
inaccessible location and poor infrastructure, political instability
within Nepal’s ruling circles and the ongoing Maoist insurgency also
serve to deter potential investors.
Tropical-weight suits or shirt and tie are recommended. Best time to
visit is October to May. Government office hours: Kathmandu
Valley: Mon-Fri 0900-1700 (winter), 0900-1600 (summer). Other areas:
Sun-Fri 1000-1700 (winter), 1000-1600 (summer).
hours : Sun-Fri 0930-1700.
Commercial Information :
organisations can offer advice: Nepal Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 198,
Kantipath, Kathmandu (tel: (1) 222 890; fax: (1) 229 998; e-mail:
email@example.com); or Federation
of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, PO Box 269, Pachali
Shahid Shukra, Milan Marg, Teku, Kathmandu (tel: (1) 262 218 or 262
061; fax: (1) 261 022; e-mail:
www.fncci.org); or Nepal-Britain
Chamber of Commerce & Industry, British Embassy Premises, Lainchaur,
Kathmandu (tel: (1) 418 137 or 410 583; fax: (1) 418 137; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; website :
following organisation can organise these events: Nepal Incentive and
Convention Association, PO Box 11034, Kathmandu (tel: (1) 494 411;
fax: (1) 473 696; e-mail:
email@example.com; website :