Nepal Economic Forum organized a panel to discuss the journey of positive transformation in the Nepali economy through the perspective of various people from diverse backgrounds. This program was held to mark the launch of the revised and updated version of Unleashing Nepal, a book authored by Sujeev Shakya and published by Penguin. First published in 2009, the book has earned the dubious reputation of being a ready reckoner for understanding past, present and future of the Nepali economy.
The program was moderated by Blair Glencorse, Executive Director of Accountability Lab, a US based organization that is operating in Nepal and Liberia. Blair provided a platform to discuss the diverse views on the transformation in Nepal.
UK Ambassador Andy Sparkes, provided a perspective on how the diplomatic and development community viewed Nepal. He said that economically, Nepal has a lot of promise. He stressed the potential of the human capital, especially for service industries such as Tourism. He believes that Nepal must focus on investments rather than development aid. For development aid to be more efficient, donors must co-ordinate and find common grounds to work on.
Chandan Sapkota, Economist, emphasized on the positive changes in Nepali economy over the past five years. He stressed on the positive macroeconomic indicators: the economy is growing at 4% in the last four years, the growth of the service sector specifically stands at 9%. He believes that it is the service sector that the government needs to focus its energy on. He also pointed out that the fact that Nepal is well on its way to meeting its Millennium Development Goals. His thoughts resonated with the theme of the book, which has earned Sujeev Shakya the dubious distinction of being called the Chief Eternal Optimist (CEO) for Nepal.
Sirkanth Srinivasmadhavan, Managing Director Unilever Nepal Limited shared his thoughts on Nepal’s transformation. He emphasized that because of the rising trends in consumption, Nepal is a market with a lot of potential for investors. Although MNCs in Nepal have been able to do reasonably well, he believes that there is an urgency to develop Nepal’s competitive advantage by measures such as leveling the playing field for foreign investors, promoting transparency and safeguarding Intellectual Property Rights.
Sujeev Shakya, who is also the Chair of Nepal Economic Forum, thanked everyone who is a part of the Unleashing journey. He linked the transformation in Nepal to his own personal experiences of being able to take beed , the Nepali consulting and financial advisory services firm he founded, not only to make an imprint in Nepal, but also globally. He ended by saying "Unleashing Nepal is no more a book I have written, it is a movement that many Nepalis have embraced."