January 22, 2019 02:00 AM NPT
Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli left for Davos, Switzerland on Sunday for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). The forum will include Nobel laureates, CEOs of world’s biggest companies, economists, policy makers and leaders from around the world. This is the first time ever that head of our government is participating in the event as a speaker. Often called the world’s “most expensive networking event,” WEF is an excellent opportunity for PM Oli to attract global attention to the opportunities for investments here in Nepal. As one of the speakers at the event, PM will have ample opportunities to interact with the CEOs of world’s biggest companies. He should be able to share our unique geo-political location, young demography and open environment for doing business. As a young democracy moving toward stability, he should highlight the opportunities for industries and investments here in Nepal. PM Oli is representing a two-thirds majority government in Davos. Thus he should be able to present Nepal’s case with rigor and win the confidence of international investors to come to Nepal.
The Nepali delegation should be able to present Nepal as an investment-friendly place which has embraced open market policy and is working further to improve the business climate. Moreover, some of the companies operating in China and South East Asia looking for further opportunities with affordable labor force could be very interested in Nepal. Smaller countries in the past have been able to impress the world community with their innovative approach to ending poverty. Rwanda makes a prominent presence in the WEF. Bhutan also made news at WEF in the past. It will be instructive for Nepali team to study how smaller countries have presented themselves in the WEF. As Nepal takes part in various international forums, it is also equally important for the government to do the needed work at home. While we can talk about investment opportunities, we have a lot to do when it comes to the ease of doing business. According to the latest World Bank report on the ease of doing business, Nepal is ranked 110 among 190 economies. Those wanting to invest in Nepal will be looking at what Nepal will do to improve its doing business ranking. We have a lot do improve our investment climate.
Meanwhile, the government is organizing a second investment summit possibly in March this year. Minister for Finance, Yuba Raj Khatiwada, who is also the coordinator of the summit organizing committee, has already made it public. The main goal of the summit will be to promote Nepal as a lucrative investment destination. Khatiwada is also scheduled to speak in Davos. Thus the effectiveness of the summit is also going to depend on how convincingly he will be able to present Nepal’s case there. International forums like Davos Summit provide Nepal a rare opportunity to reach out to the wider world and gain the support of global community for Nepal’s development initiatives. PM Oli and Finance Minister Khatiwada should try to make most of it.