The government and development partners today lauded the country's impressive development results.
Addressing a special event to commemorate fifty years of development partnership between Nepal and the World Bank Group, here today, minister for Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire highlighted poverty reduction as one of Nepal’s biggest successes. "Nepal has already met the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving extreme poverty,” he said, adding that Nepalis, beyond income poverty, have widespread access to essential social services.
Ghimire also noted Nepal’s remarkable progress in achieving gender parity in primary education
However, the country faces two challenges on the poverty front, he added. "We need to ensure that people do not revert back below the poverty line and must challenge ourselves to reduce the poverty rate to single digit during this decade."
The new Interim Three Year Plan will set the stage for pro-poor policies, including trying to secure better outcomes through improved governance, he added.
Similarly, World Bank vice president for South Asia Isabel Guerrero, on the occasion lauded Nepal's impressive development results in the face of tremendous challenges. "These results set it apart from other post-conflict countries,” she said, citing numerous examples of progress over the past five decades with regard to poverty reduction, expansion of infrastructure and public services, and improvements in human development.
"A child born today in Nepal can expect to live 25 years longer than one born in 1970, apart from almost all Nepalis children go to school and live within 30 minutes of their schools," she said, noting Nepal’s strengths going forward in terms of a young population, a growing private sector, a long tradition of community-led development, and support across the political spectrum for scaling up development.
"Nepal’s ability to continue these impressive social developments will depend on achieving greater political stability, supporting private sector by removing existing bottlenecks to investments and investing in infrastructure,” Guerrero added. "It will also require making the governance structures and institutions more effective and accountable."
She also reaffirmed the World Bank Group’s continued support to Nepal’s development in the coming years and said its assistance strategy will continue to align with those of the government and larger community of development partners.
Similarly, chief secretary Leela Mani Paudyal, finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi, World Bank country manager for Nepal Tahseen Sayed and chief of the International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division under Finance Ministry Madhu Kumar Marasini also addressed the programme that witnessed a special commemorative postage stamp release to mark fifty years of development partnership between Nepal and the World Bank Group.
Ghimire and Guerrero also jointly inaugurated an exhibition of photographs and videos showcasing Nepal’s key development results over the past five decades. The exhibition features photographs and videos on Nepal’s achievements in development results in the areas of inclusive growth and productivity, human development, social protection and gender equality.
The World Bank Group fielded the first economic mission to Nepal in 1963 to assess the country’s development prospects and challenges and approved its first credit in 1969 for a telecommunications project. Since then, the World Bank has provided Nepal $2.6 billion in credits and $975 million in grants. Currently the Bank is supporting 17 projects worth $1.35 billion. The World Bank provides about $200 million in new financing to Nepal every year through its concessionary window, the International Development Association (IDA). The International Finance Corporation (IFC) — the private sector arm of the World Bank Group — currently has an investment portfolio in Nepal of about $50 million and $635,000 in advisory services.