KATHMANDU, JUN 04 –
Atul Keshap, Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia at the United States Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, on Tuesday said Nepal needs to focus on unleashing its hydropower potential to gain economic prosperity.
Addressing an interaction organised by Tribhuvan University’s Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRD) Programme, Keshap said the country needs to cash in on more than 42,000MW of commercially viable hydropower potential.
He said the economic prosperity of Nepal is an important issue for the United States as it is an advocate of democracy, peace, security, stability and prosperity which can be ensured through economic growth.
“The South Asian region is the most least connected regions across the globe with inter regional trade flow accounting to less than 5 percent and inter regional investment flow accounting to less than one percent,” said Keshap. “I feel that the greatest opportunity perhaps for the regional integration is nowhere more evident than in the energy sector which Nepal should capitalise,” he added.
Keshap said Nepal needs to sign a Power Trade Agreement (PTA), firstly with India, and then with other countries within the region for achieving prosperity through hydropower.
Despite political vulnerability, Keshap said there is a need for focusing on economic development.
Stating that 70 percent of the Nepali population is under the age of 35, and 2,000 individuals leave for foreign employment every day, the country should create opportunity for young blood to pour in their skills here.
“We are aware about the political transformation Nepal has been going through,” said Keshap adding, Singapore and South Korea which have had achieved economic prosperity despite political odds.
Source : The Kathmandu Post