Nepal on the right path to development: Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough

World Bank country director for Nepal says the group will continue extending its support to Nepal to propel growth

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Kantipur Conclave that kicked off in Kathmandu on Sunday, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank’s country director for Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives, said that the stable government the country now has, after decades of instability, has been able to conceive and execute long-term visions for the country.

Giving her keynote speech on the first day of the conclave, Pswarayi-Riddihough said, “After decades of political transition following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the devastating setbacks of 2015 earthquake and 2017 floods, we are now back on the path towards a ‘Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali’.”

Pswarayi-Riddihough pointed out that the natural disasters of 2015 and 2017 had pushed Nepal off itsdevelopment path; however, the country’s resilience and resoluteness prevailed and brought the country back to the path of development.Relying on available data and analysis, Pswarayi-Riddihough believed that Nepal was on the right path to achieving middle income status by 2030.

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“Already, we are seeing a slow but steady shift in the sources of growth from consumption fueled by remittances to investment-led growth. This shift has helped keep the growth strong, at 7.9 percent in FY 2016-17, 6.3 percent in FY 2017-18 and a forecast of 6 percent in FY 2018-19,” added Pswarayi-Riddihough, highlighting the considerable reduction in absolute poverty from around 46 per cent in the mid 1990s to approximately 15 per cent in 2010.

“I am hopeful that updated data will show even more promising results,” she said. She also drew attention to the fact that to achieve the status of a Middle Income Country, Nepal would need a sustained annual growth rate of at least 7-8 percent or higher, which would not be possible without the support of the public sector.

“Naturally, public resources will not be sufficient, nor should they be the only source. The financial and technical engagement of the private sector, to crow-in private investment, is outlined as a core aspect of the country’s success formula,” said Pswarayi-Riddihough, stressing the role of the public sector in furthering development should not be underestimated.

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“The government and public institutions are the bedrock on which this economy will continue to be built,” she said.

Calling Nepal an important member of the World Bank, Pswarayi-Riddihough said that the organisation was invested in the country’s development and partnership would continue for years to come.

“I am not speaking about money but emotional investment. Nepal is an important member of our institution. In fact, this year marks our 50th anniversary together. With 25 projects approaching $3 billion in financing, we are here for the long-haul,” she said.

She stressed that the World Bank will continue to extend its support to Nepal in various sectors as in the past decades.

“Whether it is proffering support to the federal transition through federalism needs assessment or helping underpin the investment climate reforms through our policy and financial support, or to specific investment in agriculture, infrastructure, and social sectors, we continue to support Nepal’s storyline,” she said.

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