Introduction

In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoists broke out in 1996.

The ensuing 10-year civil war between Maoist and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king in 2002. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a late 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nationwide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly (CA) declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The CA elected the country’s first president in July.

Between 2008 and 2011 there were four different coalition governments, led twice by the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which received a plurality of votes in the 2008 CA election, and twice by the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist (UML). After the CA failed to draft a constitution by the May 2012 deadline set by the Supreme Court, then Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI dissolved the CA. Months of negotiations ensued until March 2013 when the major political parties agreed to create an interim government headed by then Chief Justice Khil Raj REGMI with a mandate to hold elections for a new CA. Elections were held in November 2013, in which and the Nepali Congress won the largest share of the seats in the CA and in February 2014 formed a coalition government with the second place UML and with Nepali Congress President Sushil KOIRALA as prime minister

Geography

Location: Southern Asia, between China and India

Area:
total: 147,181 sq km
country comparison to the world: 94
land: 143,351 sq km
water: 3,830 sq km

Land boundaries:
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km

Economy

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with about one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Nepal is heavily dependent on remittances, which amount to as much as 22-25% of GDP. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for more than 70% of the population and accounting for a little over one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of commercially feasible capacity, but political uncertainty and a difficult business climate have hampered foreign investment. Additional challenges to Nepal’s growth include its landlocked geographic location, persistent power shortages, underdeveloped transportation infrastructure, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster. The lack of political consensus in the past several years has delayed national budgets and prevented much-needed economic reform, although the government passed a full budget in 2013.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$42.06 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
$40.57 billion (2012 est.)
$38.7 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$19.34 billion (2013 est.)
GDP – real growth rate:
3.6% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
4.9% (2012 est.)
3.4% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
$1,500 (2012 est.)
$1,400 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Exports:
$1.06 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 158
$1.004 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
clothing, pulses, carpets, textiles, juice, pashima, jute goods

Exports – partners:
India 93.9%, Bangladesh 4%, Italy 0.4% (2013 est.)

Imports:
$6.329 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$5.951 billion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
petroleum products, machinery and equipment, gold, electrical goods, medicine

Imports – partners:
India 79.4%, South Korea 3.1%, China 2.5% (2013 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$6.574 billion (15 January 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
$5.833 billion (15 July 2013 est.)

Debt – external:
$3.956 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
$3.673 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$103 million
country comparison to the world: 107

Energy

Electricity – production:
3.431 billion kWh (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128

Electricity – consumption:
2.745 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 133

Electricity – exports:
30 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86

Electricity – imports:
694 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72

Electricity – installed generating capacity:
721,000 kW (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130

Electricity – from fossil fuels:
7.9% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197

Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants:
92.1% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11

Refined petroleum products – consumption:
18,430 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132

Refined petroleum products – exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205

Refined petroleum products – imports:
21,960 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
3.173 million Mt (2011 est.)