Landmark UK commitment: $505 million pledged to Nepal in development grants by 2030

KATHMANDU: In a historic move, the United Kingdom has pledged an astounding $505 million in development grants to Nepal by the year 2030. The commitment was solidified through the signing of two significant grant agreements related to business and green growth during a special ceremony at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

The grant agreements, encompassing the Nepal in Business (NIB) program and the Green Growth Nepal (GGN) program, are integral components of the new UK Development Portfolio. Aimed at addressing the climate crisis, mobilizing international finance for development, fostering economic transformation, and supporting governance and inclusion, these initiatives mark a substantial collaboration between the two nations.

Joint-Secretary Shree Krishna Nepal, representing the Government of Nepal, and Development Director Pippa Bird of the British Embassy in Kathmandu, inked the agreements. The signing ceremony witnessed the presence of Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat and the visiting British Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell.

The British Embassy highlighted that the £400 million ($505 million) development portfolio is anticipated to yield significant impacts by 2030. These include the creation of 13,500 jobs, attracting over $1 billion in investment, and facilitating access to quality health and education services for two million women and girls.

The NIB program, supported by a grant exceeding £70 million (approximately Rs 11.70 billion) over seven years, is expected to unlock Nepal’s economic potential. This includes addressing income poverty and assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in enhancing their management and productivity, thereby fostering business growth and job creation.

Similarly, the GGN program’s grant aims to boost green, resilient, and inclusive growth in Nepal. This involves expanding investments in green industries and services, enhancing climate-resilient infrastructures, and fortifying sustainable economic policies to create economic opportunities throughout the country.

In a speech at the Ministry of Finance, Minister Mitchell outlined the UK’s commitment to work closely with Nepal. This collaboration aims to mobilize development funding, address the climate crisis, and support Nepal’s transition from Least Developed Country status. The UK’s new Development Portfolio, particularly focusing on sustainable local infrastructure, is expected to benefit 1.7 million people across Nepal.

Finance Minister Dr. Mahat expressed gratitude for the enduring bilateral relationship between Nepal and the UK. Emphasizing the importance of the agreements in achieving Nepal’s economic goals, promoting sustainability, and reducing poverty, he highlighted their role in economic transformation, climate resilience, improved social services, and inclusivity.

Minister Mitchell’s visit to Nepal also involved discussions with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud. The discussions centered around UK support for Nepal’s Investment Summit in April 2024 and crucial reforms necessary to mobilize finance and attract investors.

During his visit, Minister Mitchell witnessed the impact of British International Investment (BII) funding at the Upper-Trishuli-1 Hydropower project, emphasizing clean energy provision and job creation. He also explored UK investments supporting job creation and entrepreneurship at Upaya and the Youth Innovation Lab, demonstrating the positive outcomes of international collaboration.

Minister Mitchell addressed the threats of climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, highlighting the UK’s role in helping Nepal manage climate risks through programs like Climate Action for a Resilient Asia (CARA). He also visited the One-Stop Crisis Management Centre at Lumbini Province Hospital, showcasing how UK funding is improving support for survivors of gender-based violence and promoting gender equality in Nepal.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday February 21, 2024, 03:42:20 PM |

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