Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest in Asia with wide discrepancies among the Nepalese people depending on geographic location, ethnicity, caste and gender. More than 25 pct. of its 30 million people live under the international poverty line of less than USD 1.25 a day.
The decade-long armed conflict between Government forces and the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) claimed more than 17,000 lives and displaced thousands more. The conflict was finally brought to a halt when seven political parties and the Maoists signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in November 2006. In 2008 elections were held and a Constituent Assembly was formed to draw up an inclusive and democratic Constitution through a participatory process. The country is still recovering from the armed conflict and progress on the implementation of the CPA has been slow. The Constitution of Federal Democratic Republic was promulgated in September 2015 by two third majority of the Constituent Assembly which was supposed to be the final product of the entire peace process but still some of the marginalized groups are not happy with the new constitution. Rebellion army either rehabilitated or reintegrated in the national security forces however, few other elements including transitional justice process of the CPA are yet to be addressed. Implementation of the Constitution from unitary system to federal one is one of the biggest challenges as large amount of the communities are not happy with the number and boundaries of the provinces along with few other agenda including structure and power of the local tier of the Government.
Economic growth is adversely affected by the conflict, April 2015 earthquake and political instability and is still low. Some of the reasons for the low productivity and investment are political instability, corruption, poor infrastructure, and lack of political attention to long term strategic planning for a stronger domestic economy.
However, Nepal also has considerable development potential since the country has a large and relatively cheap labour force, access to raw materials (especially in the agro-industry), access to the Indian and Chinese markets, and great potential for the hydroelectricity, irrigation and increased earnings from tourism.
Capital: Kathmandu. Approximately 2.5 million in Kathmandu Valley
Area: 147,200 sq.km (43,000 sq.km Denmark)
Population: 30 million
Population growth per year: 1.2% (2015)
Language: Nepali is the official language
International dialling code: +977
Time: GMT +5.45 hrs
Terrain: Terai - the flat river plain of the Ganges in the south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in the north.
Source: World Bank
GDP: USD 20.88 billion (2015)
GDP per capita: USD 2,458 (2015)
Annual growth in GDP per capita: 2.1% (2015)
External debt: USD 3.549 billion (2014)
Development assistance per capita: 29 USD
Danish project/programme support: 2009: 187 million DKK; 2010: 166 million DKK; 2011: 199 million DKK; 2012: 206 million DKK; 2015: 170 million (est.)
Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grains
Inflation: 8.6% (mid-August 2016 est.)
Major trading partners (export): India 56%, USA 13%, Germany 4.4%, UK 4%, China 2.9%, Turkey 2.9%, France 1.9% and Bangladesh 1.7%
Major trading partners (import): India 63.7%, China 11.9%, UAE 5.1%, Indonesia 1.9% and Thailand 1.5%
Major industries: Tourism; carpets, textiles and handicrafts; small rice, jute, sugar and oilseed mills; tobacco; cement and brick production
Membership of international groupings/organisations: United Nations and specialized agencies, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Non Aligned Movement (NAM), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), International Monitory Fund (IMF), Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in South Asia etc.
Source: World Bank, UNDP, Trade and Export Promotion Centre, Nepal Rastra Bank - Central Bank of Nepal
Nepal is a parliamentary democracy with a largely ceremonial President as Head of State and a Prime Minister as Head of Government. A 601-seat Constituent Assembly (CA) was elected on 10 April 2008 for the first time, and elections to the second Constituent Assembly were successfully held on 19 November 2013 and subsequently a new government and a new 601-member Constituent Assembly were formed. In September 2015 the new Constitution was promulgated by the Constituent Assembly.
Head of State President: Ms Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Head of the Government (Prime Minister): Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”
Foreign Minister: Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister: Krishna Bahadur Mahara
Nepali Congress (President: Sher Bahadur Deuba), Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (Chairman: Khadga Prasad Oli), Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (Chairman: Pushpa Kamal Dahal/'Prachanda'),Rastriya Prajatantra Party (National Democratic Party) Nepal (President: Kamal Thapa) Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic (Chairman: Bijay Gachchhadar), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (President: Sunil Bahadur Thapa), Madhesi People´s Rights Forum Nepal (Chairman: Upendra Yadav), Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party (Chairman: Mahantha Thakur)