Partnership For Prosperity
Nepal has always been described as a beautiful country endowed rich with natural resources, water resources in particular, and cultural diversity, hence it can transform itself into an advanced economy in a short period of time provided these strengths are duly exploited for the advancement of the country. Moreover, the strategic location of the country between two rapidly growing economies – India and China – can be turned into an opportunity for the prosperity of the nation. This is, however, limited to rhetoric so far. The Himalayan republic lags behind its giant neighbours and other nations in the region thanks to protracted political instability and short lived governments that failed to adopt appropriate policies for the development of the country. The restoration of democracy in 1990 was expected to lead Nepal on the path of development and make the countrymen happy. Indeed there were some positive changes in the economy, but the euphoria did not last as the country once again fell into a new round of political conflict followed by a prolonged transition pushing the nation backward by decades. Only lately the political forces resolved the conflict, wrote a new federal constitution and conducted three-tier elections as per the new constitution. Now there are stable governments in the centre as well as the provinces. So this is the right time for the government to make concerted efforts to usher the county on the path of prosperity and happiness.
With the prevalence of political stability and formation of a stable government in the country, Nepal is now well positioned to turn things around. In fact the government has set a development vision with the slogan of Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali and focussed its attention on major infrastructure projects including railways and waterways for better connectivity within the country and beyond. Obviously, there is some scepticism about this focus on the infrastructure projects when a large majority of people are still living in poverty and facing hardships for subsistence on a daily basis. However, dreaming about transformation of the country is the first step towards actual change and we need to acknowledge that the incumbent government is committed to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people. This is what Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali’s statement the other day reflected; addressing the Raisina Dialogue 2019 in New Delhi, India, Minister Gyawali said that the government was required to work in such a way that would enable Nepal to make up for the two lost decades. Minister Gyawali also noted that trying to chase the goal of growth and prosperity single-handedly may be unrealistic and spoke on the need to seek the support from Nepal’s development partners from around the world. Gyawali is right in the sense that the country needs a substantial amount of investment to implement the infrastructure and other projects and has to work in collaboration with its development partners, the neighbouring countries in particular. And the current government is in a situation to enlist their support as it enjoys the goodwill of both the neighbours as well as other friendly nations across the world.