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Nepalese Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Kathmandu (pop 1.5 million)

Other Cities: Biratnagar, Patan, Pokhara, Birganj, Dharan, Nepalganj.

Local Time: UTC + 5:45h

Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Area: 147 181 sq. km
Terrain: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north.

Border countries
: China (Tibet Autonomous Region (Xizang), India

Climate: The climate in Nepal varies with elevation, tropical in the lower southern part Tarai, mid-hills alpine and the high mountains polar.

Type: Constitutional Monarchy.
Chief of State: King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah (succeeded to the throne 4 June 2001 following the death of his nephew, King DIPENDRA Bir Bikram Shah)

Nationality: noun: Nepalese (singular and plural), adjective: Nepalese or Nepali.
Population: 25 000 000
Refugee Population: Bhutanese (94 000), Tibetans (20 000 approx.)
Ethnic Groups: sixty ethnic groups, major groups are Sherpas, Kirats or Limbus, Rais, Magars, Newars, Tamangs, Gurungs, the Bahuns and Chhetries and the Tharus the inhabitants of the Tarai.
Religions: Hinduism (predominant 86%), Buddhism 8%, Tibetan Lamaism (Bon)
Languages: Nepali (official and lingua franca of the country), sixty ethnic groups, who speak seventy different dialects and eleven major languages like Tibeto-Burman, Lhotsamkha, Nepalbhasa, Tamang languages.
Literacy: 40%


Currency: Nepalese Rupee (NPR)

Natural resources: Quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore.

Agriculture products:
Rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat.

Industries: Tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production.

Exports partners:
India 50.7%, USA 26%, Germany 6.6% (2003)

Imports partners: India 22.9%, China 13.4%, UAE 12.5%, Singapore 7.1%, Saudi Arabia 5.5%, Kuwait 4.6% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Nepal
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA)

Diplomatic Missions
The Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Nepal to the UN

Royal Nepal Embassy in the US

Royal Nepal Embassy in the UK

Foreign Missions in Nepal

Department of Hydrology and Meteorology

Nepal Maps
Map of Nepal



Background:  In 1951, the Nepalese 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. The refugee issue of some 100,000
Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of these displaced persons
are housed in seven United Nations Offices of the High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) camps.

Geography Nepal

Location:  Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates:  28 00 N, 84 00 E

Map references:  Asia

Area:  total: 140,800 sq km water: 4,000 sq km land: 136,800 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly larger than Arkansas

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

Coastline:  0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)

Climate:  varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to
subtropical summers and mild winters in south

Terrain:  Terai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill
region, rugged Himalayas in north

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m highest point:
Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999 est.)

Natural resources:  quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty,
small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use:  arable land: 20% permanent crops: 1% other: 79% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  11,350 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought,
and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the
summer monsoons

Environment - current issues:  deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and
lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes,
agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation;
vehicular emissions

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of
the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83,
Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping,
Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:  landlocked; strategic location between China and India;
contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest -
the world's tallest - on the border with China

People Nepal

Population:  25,873,917 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 40% (male 5,346,422; female 5,007,416) 15-64
years: 56.4% (male 7,476,202; female 7,125,471) 65 years and over: 3.6%
(male 453,263; female 465,143) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.29% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  32.94 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  10.03 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.07
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.97 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  72.36 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   58.2 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.48 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.29% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  34,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  2,500 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Nepalese (singular and plural) adjective: Nepalese

Ethnic groups:  Brahman, Chetri, Newar, Gurung, Magar, Tamang, Rai,
Limbu, Sherpa, Tharu, and others (1995)

Religions:  Hinduism 86.2%, Buddhism 7.8%, Islam 3.8%, other 2.2% note:
only official Hindu state in the world (1995)

Languages:  Nepali (official; spoken by 90% of the population), about
a dozen other languages and about 30 major dialects; note - many in
government and business also speak English (1995)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 27.5% male: 40.9% female: 14% (1995 est.)

Government Nepal

Country name:  conventional long form: Kingdom of Nepal conventional
short form: Nepal

Government type:  parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy

Capital:  Kathmandu

Administrative divisions:  14 zones (anchal, singular and plural);
Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini,
Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti

Independence:  1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)

National holiday:  Birthday of King GYANENDRA, 7 July (1946)

Constitution:  9 November 1990

Legal system:  based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law;
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah
(succeeded to the throne 4 June 2001 following the death of his nephew,
King DIPENDRA Bir Bikram Shah) head of government: Prime Minister Sher
Bahadur DEUBA (since 22 July 2001) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the
monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister elections: none; the
monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the
majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed
prime minister by the monarch note: King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev
died in a bloody shooting at the royal palace on 1 June 2001 that also
claimed the lives of most of the royal family; King BIRENDRA's son,
Crown Price DIPENDRA, is believed to have been responsible for the
shootings before fatally wounding himself; immediately following the
shootings and while still clinging to life, DIPENDRA was crowned king;
he died three days later and was succeeded by his uncle

Legislative branch:  note: Nepal's Parliament was dissolved on 22 May 2002
and elections are scheduled for 13 November 2002 : bicameral Parliament
consists of the National Council (60 seats; 35 appointed by the House of
Representatives, 10 by the king, and 15 elected by an electoral college;
one-third of the members elected every two years to serve six-year terms)
and the House of Representatives (205 seats; members elected by popular
vote to serve five-year terms) election results: House of Representatives
- percent of vote by party - NC 37.3%, CPN/UML 31.6%, NDP 10.4%, NSP
3.2%, Rastriya Jana Morcha 1.4%, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 0.8%, NWPP
0.5%, others 14.8%; seats by party - NC 113, CPN/UML 69, NDP 11, NSP 5,
Rastriya Jana Morcha 5, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 1, NWPP 1 elections:
House of Representatives - last held 3 and 17 May 1999 (next to be held
13 November 2002)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is
appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council;
the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of
the Judicial Council)

Political parties and leaders:  Communist Party of Nepal/United
Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL, general secretary];
National Democratic Party or NDP (also called Rastriya Prajantra
Party or RPP) [Surya Bahadur THAPA, chairman]; National People's Front
(Rastriya Jana Morcha) [Chitra Bahadur, chairman]; Nepal Sadbhavana
(Goodwill) Party or NSP [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL, acting party president];
Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE, party
chair]; Nepali Congress or NC [Girija Prasad KOIRALA, party president,
Sushil KOIRALA, general secretary]; Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal [Lila Mani
POKHAREL, general secretary]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Maoist guerrilla-based insurgency;
numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small,
radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups

International organization participation:  AsDB, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO,
IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MONUC,
WToO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission:
Ambassador-designate Jai Pratap RANA chancery: 2131
 New York FAX:
Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Michael E. MALINOWSKI (since December 2001) embassy: Panipokhari,
Kathmandu mailing address: use embassy street address telephone: [977]
(1) 411179 FAX: [977] (1) 419963

Flag description:  red with a blue border around the unique shape of two
overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white
stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun

Economy Nepal

Economy - overview:  Nepal is among the poorest and least developed
countries in the world with nearly half of its population living below
the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing
a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 41% of
GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural
produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Textile and carpet
production, accounteing for about 80% of foreign exchange earnings in
recent years, contracted significantly in 2001 due to the overall slowdown
in the world economy and pressures by Maoist insurgents on factory
owners and workers. Security concerns in the wake of Maoist activity,
the June massacre of many members of the royal family, and the September
11 terrorist attacks in the US led to a decrease in tourism, another key
source of foreign exchange. Agricultural production is growing by about
5% on average as compared with annual population growth of 2.3%. Since
May 1991, the government has been moving forward with economic reforms,
particularly those that encourage trade and foreign investment, e.g.,
by reducing business licenses and registration requirements to simplify
investment procedures. The government has also been cutting expenditures
by reducing subsidies, privatizing state industries, and laying off
civil servants. More recently, however, political instability - five
different governments over the past few years - has hampered Kathmandu's
ability to forge consensus to implement key economic reforms. Nepal has
considerable scope for accelerating economic growth by exploiting its
potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment
interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors
will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy,
its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic
location, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.  The international
community's role of funding more than 60% of Nepal's development budget
and more than 28% of total budgetary expenditures will likely continue
as a major ingredient of growth.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $35.6 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  2.6% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $1,400 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 41% industry: 22% services:
37% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  42% (FY95/96 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1995-96)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  36.7 (1995-96)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.1% (FY00/01 est.)

Labor force:  10 million (1996 est.)  note: severe lack of skilled labor

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 81%, services 16%, industry 3%

Unemployment rate:  47% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $665 million expenditures: $1.1 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (FY99/00 est.)

Industries:  tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and
oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate:  8.7% (FY99/00)

Electricity - production:  1.454 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 9.56% hydro: 90.44%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  1.431 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  95 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  174 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk,
water buffalo meat

Exports:  $757 million (f.o.b., FY00/01 est.), but does not include
unrecorded border trade with India

Exports - commodities:  carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods,

Exports - partners:  India 48%, US 26%, Germany 11% (FY00/01)

Imports:  $1.6 billion (f.o.b., FY00/01 est.)

Imports - commodities:  gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products,

Imports - partners:  India 39%, Singapore 10%, China/Hong Kong 9%,

Debt - external:  $2.55 billion (FY00/01)

Economic aid - recipient:  $424 million (FY00/01)

Currency:  Nepalese rupee (NPR)

Currency code:  NPR

Exchange rates:  Nepalese rupees per US dollar - 76.675 (January 2002),
74.961 (2001), 71.094 (2000), 68.239 (1999), 65.976 (1998), 58.010 (1997)

Fiscal year:  16 July - 15 July

Communications Nepal

Telephones - main lines in use:  236,816 (January 2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph
service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile
cellular telephone network domestic: NA international: radiotelephone
communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station -
1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (January 2000)

Radios:  840,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)

Televisions:  130,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .np

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  6 (2000)

Internet users:  50,000 (2001)

Transportation Nepal

Railways:  total: 59 km narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge note: all in
Kosi close to Indian border (2001)

Highways:  total: 13,223 km paved: 4,073 km unpaved: 9,150 km (April 1999)

Waterways:  none

Ports and harbors:  none

Airports:  45 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 8 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m:
1 914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 37 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 7 under 914 m: 29 (2001)

Military Nepal

Military branches:  Royal Nepalese Army (includes Royal Nepalese Army
Air Service), Nepalese Police Force

Military manpower - military age:  17 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 6,484,343 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 3,369,454
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 292,589
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $51.5 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Nepal

Disputes - international:  formed Joint Border committee with India in
2001 to resolve 53 disputed sections of boundary covering an area of
720 sq km; approximately 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal, 90%
of whom reside in seven UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees
camps, place decades-long strains on Nepal

Illicit drugs:  illicit producer of cannabis for the domestic and
international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast
Asia to the West

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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