Forging friendship beyond a century

Published On: February 22, 2024 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

As Nepal and the UK celebrate the first 100 years of their friendship, the two countries have laid out what can be described as a new chapter of friendship for another 100 years based on economic partnership and support. In a gesture of solidarity towards Nepal's aspirations for sustainable development and economic prosperity, the UK government on Tuesday committed £400 million (approximately $505 million) in development grants to Nepal by 2030. This commitment, embodied in two separate grant agreements—the Nepal in Business (NIB) program and the Green Growth Nepal (GGN) program—paves the way for Nepal to achieve those aspirations. Celebrating the first century of friendship, these agreements mark the beginning of a new era in the partnership between the UK and Nepal. The £400 million development portfolio is poised to create a ripple effect, touching the lives of millions of Nepalis. The impact is likely to be far-reaching, from generating 13,500 jobs to attracting over $1 billion in investment. The focus on quality healthcare and education services for two million women and girls is equally important to realize an inclusive and sustainable development in the country. We commend this positive gesture of the UK government to help Nepal, which seeks to graduate itself from the LDC status by 2026.

The NIB program, with a grant exceeding £70 million, can play an important role to unlock Nepal's economic potential. By addressing income poverty and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it aims to enhance organizational effectiveness, fostering business growth and job creation. This injection of funds comes at a time when nearly 1,500 youth are leaving the country each day for jobs in overseas countries. Similarly, the GGN program, with its focus on green, resilient, and inclusive growth, aligns with global efforts to combat the climate crisis. Nepal has already committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The £70 million grant will facilitate investments in green industries, climate-resilient infrastructure, and sustainable economic policies. The UK's support in this sector stands as a beacon, guiding Nepal towards a future where economic development and environmental sustainability coexist harmoniously.

UK Minister for Development and Africa, Minister Mitchell, was in Nepal to launch the Development Portfolio and witness the signing of these two crucial grant agreements. In his speech after the launch of the UK Development Portfolio and signing of these two crucial agreements on Tuesday, Minister Mitchell announced the UK's commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with Nepal during its transition from the Least Developed Country status. This partnership, as he highlighted, aims to not only tackle immediate challenges but also lay the groundwork for the next hundred years of friendship. As a newspaper, we see the UK's generous commitment to help Nepal through grant assistance of $505 million—the single biggest grant assistance Nepal has ever received-- to enhance organizational effectiveness, fostering business growth, and job creation marks a new chapter in the annals of Nepal-UK relations. The grant agreements between the two countries not only pave the way for Nepal's journey towards sustainable development, but also set the stage for a friendship that will endure for another hundred years.

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