KATHMANDU: After the successful conduct of Constituent Assembly elections in November, many Nepali diplomatic missions abroad are focusing on economic diplomacy as part of which they are organising seminars in host countries in a bid to attract foreign direct investment in Nepal’s infrastructure and development sectors.
Nepali embassies in Japan, India, Pakistan, France and China organised business seminars in respective host countries aiming at promoting Nepal as a good destination for FDI in the areas of hydropower, infrastructure development, agricultural and tourism.
Nepali missions are trying to spread the message to the foreign investors and the business community that peace has been restored in Nepal following the completion of the peace process and second CA elections.
Foreign investors and tourists have been hesitant to come to Nepal since when the Maoist insurgency started in Nepal back in 1996. Though the Maoist party joined peace process in 2006 and became part of mainstream politics, the situation failed to improve to attract the foreign investors.
“Now, peace has been restored and we are spreading this message as much as possible to investors and the business community of Japan,” said Madan Kumar Bhattarai, Ambassador of Nepal to Japan. At his initiation, the Embassy of Nepal in Japan organised a seminar ‘Investment Opportunities in Nepal’ in Tokyo in early March. Representatives of various Japanese firms, business community, investors and senior Japanese officials attended the conclave where they assured that they would invest in Nepal’s energy, tourism and infrastructure development projects, according to Ambassador Bhattarai.
Likewise, the Nepali embassy in India is also doing preparations to organise business seminars in coordination with local chambers of commerce in various states of India. Recently such a programme was held in Gujarat and Bihar states, where discussions focused on prospects of utilising Nepal’s huge water resources for the benefit of both Nepal and India.
Nepali Embassy in Islamabad also organised a series of business-related workshops in major cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi. “We are try to send out the message on two issues in such events,” Nepal’s Ambassador to Pakistan Bharat Paudal told THT. “Firstly, Nepal is an appropriate destination for foreign investors, and secondly, we request local business community to import Nepali products which are in high demand in host countries.”
Nepali missions have also started participating in events such as tourism and business exposition in the host countries.
Other missions are now following suit. Nepali embassy in South Korea is hosting Nepal Investment Seminar in Seoul next week. The three-day event will be marked with the theme ‘Empowering Nepal’ and is being inaugurated by Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey on May 15.
The themes of such conclaves are to seek FDIs in hydropower development, infrastructure building projects, exploring avenues for trade and investment as well as attracting more and more tourists in the country. It is also meant for hearing the views and opinions of foreign investors on business and investment environment in Nepal, said Ambassador of Nepal to South Korea Kaman Singh Lama.
Nepali missions’ activeness has been multiplied by frequent directions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so as to involve in activities related to economic diplomacy, which has become the crux of modern diplomacy.
“What our missions need to be involved in today’s world is in attracting FDIs, foreign tourists and technology to the country,” Foreign Minister Pandey told THT.
At home, MoFA itself is organising a seminar on ‘Investment Promotion and Trade Facilitation: Role of Nepali Diplomatic Missions’ in Kathmandu on Saturday.
After such events, a few countries have started sending business delegations for exploring Nepal’s untapped sectors for business and investment. France sent a business delegation comprising representatives of major business firms in March, which during its one week stay took stock on investment prospects and challenges.
“The French are serious about investing in Nepal’s energy and tourism sectors,” Ambassador of Nepal to France Mohan Krishna Shrestha told THT in a recent meeting in Paris. “What they all want is an investment-friendly environment and policies alike.”
Source : The Himalayan Times