Nepalese president: Belt and Road offers new opportunities

By Zhang Lulu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 29, 2019
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Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari speaks during the 2019 China-Nepal Economic and Trade Forum held in Beijing on April 28, 2019. [Photo by Zhang Lulu/]

Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari said in Beijing that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is offering new opportunities for Nepal, and that she hopes Chinese investors and enterprises can invest more in Nepal.

Bhandari arrived in China for a state visit and attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. She made the remarks at the 2019 China-Nepal Economic and Trade Forum held on Sunday.

Nepal signed up to join the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017. In her speech, Bhandari said that Nepal lacks the material resources and technology to develop its economy, and therefore needs the support of its neighbors including China. 

In a report the Nepalese embassy in China published at the Sunday forum, the country projects that it needs US$86 billion of investment in the next five years to transition from a least developed country to a developing country by 2022, and become a middle-income country by 2030. 

Bhandari said that Nepal adopted a new constitution in 2015, and the country now enjoys a pro-business environment and political stability that can ensure investment security.

China is Nepal's largest source of foreign direct investment and its second largest trading partner. According to the embassy publication, the two countries in 2018 marked a trade volume of US$1.29 billion. China's total foreign trade reached about US$4.5 trillion last year. 

Other Nepalese officials participating in Sunday's forum were also keen to promote trade with China and courting investment. Maha Prasad Adhikari, CEO of the Investment Board of Nepal, gave a briefing about Nepal's investment policies to business leaders at the forum. He also listed the areas where Nepal aims to attract investment: energy, transportation, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, information and communications technology, health, mines and minerals, education, and banking and finance. 

Several major deals are expected to be signed between Nepal and China during Bhandari's visit, according to earlier reports by Nepalese media. 

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