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An update from Evaneos

The current situation in Nepal

After the peace agreements between the Maoists and the ruling authorities in 2006, the state of emergency in Nepal was lifted. Despite that and all that has followed, the political situation and the economy have remained instable and precarious. At the same time, Nepal is trying to open itself up to tourism, hoping that it will prove to be an economic godsend for the country.

NB. After the two powerful earthquakes that struck the country in April et May 2015, Nepal is slowly getting back on its feet. This article was written before the disaster.

A review of the political situation

In 2006 the ruling authorities and the Maoists managed to negotiate and put peace agreements into place. This allowed the militants to join the regular army and the intellectuals to play a part in the government of the country. As a result the Maoists had great success in the elections that followed. The other parties then did everything possible to block their path. However, it wasn't effective enough and a Maoist, Pachandra, became Prime Minister. This didn't calm things down at all, cheap-shots multiplied, strikes and protests broke out and the overall situation became even more unstable. The Maoists were still excluded and attempts to integrate them into society weren't effective. During this time, within the government strategic manoeuvres and other pettiness took up most of the politicians' time and didn't address the real problems of the Nepalese people at all.

What about the economy?

With a third of the population living on the breadline and an unemployment rate of over 40% Nepal is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. This political instability doesn't help economic development in the least and these days Nepal has to rely on international aid in order to survive. Agriculture is the main industry in this very fragile economy. The country's geography isn't suitable for intensive farming and current agricultural practices remain almost feudal. Rice, fruit, vegetables and potatoes are grown; nothing that produces anything of any real profit. The agro-food, textile and construction materials industries aren't enough to improve the situation.

Sadhus in Nepal

The tourist sector

The most flourishing industry is that of tourism. You'll notice during your trip to Népal that even though the infrastucture can hardly support it, tourism brings in vital revenue for the country. The tourist sector developing as far as possible and is a good source of employment but, unfortunately, it remains far too dependent on the political stability of the country. For as long as Nepal is unable to solve its security problems and ongoing instability, its future will remain in the balance.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 29 September 2015
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