My Republica, March 29, 2019
KATHMANDU: Nepal Investment Summit 2019 is going to kick off in the capital Friday, with the country eyeing billions of dollars in foreign investment in key development sectors, to attain the goal of a prosperous Nepal.
Prime Minister K P Oli is scheduled to inaugurate the summit at Hotel Soltee in the morning, while Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada will brief participants about the investment environment in the country and what the government has to offer to investors.
The Oli government is hosting the investment summit a year after assuming office, with a view to 'give out a message that Nepal is the best destination for foreign investment' and with its eyes on double digit economic growth . According to the Investment Board Nepal (IBN), host Nepal is showcasing 77 projects for the summit including 50 from the government sector and 22 on behalf of the private sector .
According to the Ministry of Finance, investment of up to 30 billion US dollars is expected to be pledged at the summit, given the interest shown by various investors across the world. Nepal has offered investment opportunities in agriculture, tourism, hydropower, manufacturing industry, transportation and infrastructure.
Nijgadh International Airport, East-West Electronic Railway, Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini Railway, Metro Rail in Kathmandu, West Seti Hydropower Project, Sunkoshi Hydropower Prject and Hetauda Smart City Project are key projects being showcased by the government for the summit. Similarly, Kathmandu Outer Ring Road Project, cable car projects at various tourism destinations, resorts and tourism projects and chemical fertilizer works are included among projects showcased .
The government expects the summit to be helpful toward achieving the prime minister's signature goal of "Prosperous Nepal Happy Nepali".
Nepal had hosted an investment summit in 2017 after the promulgation of the new constitution, but initiative was subsequently taken only for investment of four billion US dollars out of nearly 14 billion pledged.
Experts say more investment is expected from this summit as most of the projects showcased by the government were chosen after preliminary feasibility studies and the amending of various laws for facilitating foreign investment .
According to the Ministry of Finance, 12 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed with multiple investors for different projects during the summit. Over 600 foreign investors from 40 countries including high-level delegates will take part in the summit which is scheduled to conclude on Saturday.
China has dominated the roster of participants with 265 investors and delegates, followed by India with 120, Japan (21) and Myanmar (19). Investors and other representatives from the USA, UK, Canada, UAE, South Korea, Germany and other countries have also arrived in Kathmandu for the summit.
Delegates from development partners and multinational companies have also arrived . Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations of Myanmar U Thaung Tun arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday . He has held a meeting with Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali since his arrival.
Key representatives from Nepal's major development partners including the World Bank and ADB are also here.
World Bank Vice President Hartwig Schafer, ADB Vice President Shixin Chen, CEO of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Keiko Honda, and Hans Peter Lankes, Vice President of Economics and Private Sector Development at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), are all now in Kathmandu .
Executive Chairman of Meinhardt Group Shahzad Nasim, Chairperson of The Muthoot Group M.G. George Muthoot and leaders of various other multinational companies are keynote speakers at different panels during the summit. According to the organizers, 10 sessions are planned for discussions on different issues of investment in Nepal.