NEPAL - FOREIGN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
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Nepal is a landlocked country with a total land area of 147,181 sq.km. She lies between 26*22'N - 30*27'N latitudes and 80*4'E - 88*12'E longitudes. Roughly rectangular in shape, the land extends approximately 885 km. east-west and 145 km. at its narrowest to 241 km. at its broadest, north-south. The country is bordered by China in the north and by India in the south, west and east.
The landmass is divided into three geographical zones, the high Himalayas, the mid-Himalayas or mountainous region with long terraced slopes leading to fertile valleys and the flat sub-tropical Terai region. The high Himalayan region extends in the north from west to east at an altitude of 4000 m. to 8000 m. The world famous peaks of Mt. Everest (8848 m.) Kanchanjunga (8586 m.) Makalu (8463 m.) Dhaulagiri (8167 m.) the Annapurnas (8091 m.) and many others dominate the formidable range of eternal snows. The mid-Himalayas consist of mountain ranges varying in height from 1525 m. to 4877 m. Below these range lie the Churia range at 610 m. to 1524 m. Fertile valleys of various width and altitudes lie between these mountain and hill ranges. The southern belt stretches east-west with a width of 26 to 32 kms. and a maximum elevation of about 305 m.
Nepal experiences 4 seasons spring (March-May) summer (June-August), autumn (Sept-Nov.) and winter (Dec.-Feb.).
The climate is varied ranging from the sub-tropical Terai to the cool dry temperate and alpine climates in the northern Himalayan ranges. In the Terai, the hottest part of the country, summer temperatures may rise as high as 40*C. The climate is hot and humid. In the mid-mountainous regions the summer climate is mild with temperatures around 25*-27*c. The winter temperatures range from 7*C to 23*C in the Terai and sub-zero to 12*C in the mountain regions and valleys. The northern Himalayan region has an alpine climate. The valley of Kathmandu has a pleasant equable climate with average summer and winter temperatures of 19*-27*C and 2*-12* C respectively.
Rainfall is widespread during the south-west monsoon period from June to August with the eastern part receiving maximum rainfall. The period from October to May is generally dry in most parts of the country. Annual precipitation varies from around 300 mm. in the northern and western areas to over 2500 mm. in the eastern region. Kathmandu valley receives around 1300 mm. of annual rainfall with a heavy concentration from June to Agust.
Nepal enjoys the distinction of having always been an independent country. It has never been under foreign domination.
Ancient Nepal consisted of many small autonomous principalities. It was King Prithvi Narayan Shah who unified Nepal by creating one nation in 1769. Since that time Kathmandu has been the capital of the country. After the Anglo-Nepali (1814-1816) Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana greatly increased his power and established the Rana line of hereditary Prime Ministers who ruled Nepal until 1951 when the late King Tribhuvan led a popular revolution which overthrew the family autocracy. In 1959 the first general election was held and a parliamentary government set up for a short period. Since then Nepal was governed by the monarchy assisted by the Rastriya Panchayat (Parliament) based a partyless panchayat system. A popular peoples movement ushered in a new era of democracy in 1990. A new constitution enshrining the sovereignty of the people was adopted in that year and multi-party elections held in 1991 to elect a truly democratic government under a constitutional monarchy.
THE NEW POLITICAL SYSTEM
The major feature of the new constitution is the adoption of a parliamentary system of government based on multy-party democracy within a constitutional monarchy. The concept of the rule of law is enshrined within an independent judicial system. The constitution also guarantees the safeguard of the basic human rights, freedoms and equality.
The constitution affirms that Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, democratic, independent, indivisible, sovereign, Hindu and constitutional monarchical kingdom.
The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government with two Houses, the House of Representatives and the National Council. The leader of the party which commands a majority in the House of Representatives will be appointed Prime Minister and a Council of Ministers under the Prime Minister will be constituted.
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT
The unique feature of the Nepalese society is its ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity. From ancient times migrant tribes from the east, the north and the south entered the land, met the natives and settled there. They are the Nepalese people. The Brahmins, Kshatriya, Thakuries, Tharus, Yadavs, Dhimals, Newars, Gurungs, Magars, Limbus, Rais, Sherpas, Tamangs and others are all ethnically members of the Indo-Aryan and Tibet-Burmese families.
The people are extremely religious and the practice of religious worship is part od everyday life. Hinduism is the state religion in Nepal. 89.5 percent of the people are Hindus, 5.3 percent Buddhists, 2.7 percent Muslims and 2.5 percent Jains, Christians and others. There is a unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. The two religions have overlapped and harmonised to the extent that Hindus and Buddhists worship the same gods.
Nepal is the lingua-franca of the country and is the written in the devnagari script. Other languages are Maithali, Bhojpuri, Newari, Gurung, Tamang, Tharu, Magar, Limbu, Rai, Kirati, Bhote etc.
English is spoken and understood by the educated people and generally understood by people in most urban centres.
Nepal has maintained one of the world's oldest and richest continuous cultures. Her culture finds exquisite expressions in the fields of religion, art, music, dance, social and socio-religious festivals. There are literally thousands of temples, shrines, pagodas, intricate wood carvings and bronze and stone images of great beauty. Festivals are a prominent aspect of Nepalese life in which all people participate enthusiastically. Dasain (Durga Puja) Tihar (festival of lights) Shiva Ratri (in honour of lord Shiva) Baishak Purnima (to pay homage to Buddha), Gai Jatra (cow festival), Indra Jatra (festival of Indra- the rain god) and a host of other festivals are celebrated throughout the year.
Nepal is a member of the United nations. She pursues a non-aligned foreign policy, maintains cordial and friendly relations with all countries. Diplomatic relations are maintained with 99 countries. Royal Nepalese Diplomatic Missions have been established in 14 countries while 46 Foreign Missions have diplomatic representation with Nepal, of which 19 have resident diplomatic missions in Kathmandu.
Nepal has attached considerable importance to the promotion of regional economic co-operation within the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). As a manifestation of this interest she has provided the secretariat of the SAARC in Kathmandu.
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