South Asia has great potential for economic prosperity: PM
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Jan. 23: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli Tuesday has given emphasis on the greater regional political and business cooperation in the South Asian region.
Speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Strategic Outlook on South Asia’ organised at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, he said that Nepal had tried its best to develop political understanding, develop connectivity and resolve trade barriers among the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) member countries.
“We are trying our best to develop understanding between SAARC member nations. Building trust among us is important,” he said.
He said South Asia had great potential for economic prosperity. It is the region of learned people and great civilisations, and people in the region have genetic memories of their learned ancestors.
The region has excellent diversity, from the top of the world, Mt. Everest, to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean. Within this diversity we have very fertile land and young population, said PM Oli.
He equally gave importance to the regional organisations like SAARC and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for the Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation). “We now have to think about regional trade and cooperation, and win-win situation for all countries so that no nation or people would fall behind,” he said.
According to him, Nepal is trying to invite investment and promote the use and transfer of technology as well as develop connectivity with neighbouring countries.
He said that after decades of political instability, Nepal had got a stable government with a clear vision, which is creating stable business and investment policies. “Our entire efforts are focused on economic development. The government has launched a national campaign ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ and to materialise it focus will be given to justice, equality, empowerment of women and bringing backward communities to the mainstream,” he said.
The PM assured the international community that Nepal is creating policies to create reform in every field of economic development. “We have given equal importance to the private sector and cooperatives in order to create more jobs for the people. There are chances that we will be among the fastest growing economies,” he said.
PM Oli also drew the attention of the world to the deteriorating condition of the Himalayas, the water towers of the world.
“Nepal has devoted about 60 per cent land – 15 per cent with snow and 45 per cent with forest – for the sake of climate protection and environment management,” he said.
Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India RaghuramRajan pointed out the need of predictability and harmonisation of trade and business in South Asia.
“We can work to create a better business environment in the region but we need to build trust in some areas like shared infrastructure such as energy and water,” he said.
He said that there should be enough trust to allow the movement of containers from Afghanistan to Nepal without being open in between.
Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdulla Abdulla said that cooperation among the regional nations in the advancement of technology should be increased. “However, trade barriers – both the tariff and non-tariff – should be addressed first,” he said.
President and Chief Executive officer of Telenor Group, a Norway-based international telecommunications company that also operates services in South Asia, SigveBrekke urged the countries in South Asia to create predictable policy and ensure business-friendly protection measures.
The panel talk was moderated by Mari ElkaPangestu, Professor of International Economics, University of Indonesia.
WEF Annual Meeting 2019, video cast live online, is being held on 22 to 25 January on the theme of ‘Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a global architecture in the age of Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
PM Oli is accompanied by his spouse Radhika Shakya, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Finance Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada and other high government officials.
This is the first time Nepal’s head of government is participating in the WEF meeting.