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The Nepal Opportunity

Ambassador Tamang with members of commercial chambers and business community in South Africa
27 March 2024

The unique and vibrant nation of Nepal, geo-strategically located between the behemoth nations of India and China, present distinct opportunities for trade, investment, travel and tourism cooperation. The dynamic topography and climate patterns offer the intrepid entrepreneur a balance of risk and reward that cannot be missed.
At a business lunch hosted by the Embassy of Nepal in South Africa in Johannesburg on 22 March, Ambassador Dan Bahadur Tamang outlined the many incentives and concessions the government of Nepal has made to attract investment into the country and boost trade. The event marked the 30 years of Diplomatic relations between South Africa and Nepal and highlighted areas of cooperation and some commonalities they share, including the transition to a constitutional democracy and the transformation of its economy.

Developing its clean hydro electrical energy is currently the key focus for the nation that is home to the highest mountain peak in the world. Mount Everest and the Himalayan mountain range is a sought after travel and tourism destination for the adventurer and thrill seeker. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is also an attraction for pilgrimages, making tourism a mainstay of the economy.

The comprehensive presentations by Minister Counsellor Gyan Bahadur Magar of the Embassy in Pretoria and a virtual link up to Mr Shankar Singh Dhami, Director of the Department of Industry in Kathmandu depicted a transforming Nepal with goals of realizing the potential of the country as it moves towards growing its economy and developing its people.

Pointing out some of the incentives for FDI Ambassador Tamang explained “we treat both domestic and foreign investors on equal terms. It is constitutionally guaranteed that there will be no nationalization of industries and private properties, almost all sectors are open for up to 100% ownership, procedures for repatriation of FDI dividends, as well as liquidation of enterprises, are easy and simplified, competitive corporate income tax (for example, 25 % in general and 20% in some priority sectors such as energy, transport infrastructure, and manufacturing) and even tax holidays for some sectors and for some locations are key for FDI. Other alluring factors are labour, with over 61% youth population; a thriving domestic market with increasing middle-class people; the world’s two most populous countries, India and China with over 1.3 billion people each; abundantly rich in natural resources; Nepal being a signatory to many bilateral and regional treaties such as BIPPA (France, Germany, UK, Mauritius, Finland), Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with 11 countries; duty-free and quota-free market access to majority of Nepali products to India, China, and other south Asian countries and the EU."

For Nepal, South Africa’s memberships of the ten member BRICS grouping, the G20, AU and IORA presents many dynamic multilateral opportunities and in reciprocity Nepal’s strategic location, its unique landscape, energy resource and commonality in the stages of transformation present significant potential for growth.

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