Speech by Hon. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs on the theme: ‘Role of Nepali Diaspora for Development Policies’ at Plenary Session 4 of the First NRN Global Knowledge Convention
(October 13, 2018, Time 4:00-6:10 PM)
Chair of the Session Dr. Bhekh Bahadur Thapa
Moderator Mr. Khagendra Dhakal
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am extremely delighted to address this august session on the theme: Role of Nepali Diaspora for Development Policies.
First of all, I thank the organizing committee for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.
I touched upon the role of Nepali diaspora to some extent in my remarks at the inaugural session yesterday. I will be brief this time.
With this convention, an important platform for NRN experts and professionals and their counterparts at home has been created to engage in intellectual discussions, debate and knowledge exchange. Cross-fertilization of ideas, views and thoughts is certainly a matter of our mutual interest to deepen quality of knowledge, learning and policymaking.
In this sense, I commend all the panelists for their comprehensive and insightful views focusing on the ‘Role of Nepali Diaspora for Development Policies’.
NRNs and Nepali Diaspora have been making important contribution to Nepal’s development process for quite some time. There is much larger scope for their engagements in development policies.
As you know, following the promulgation of the new constitution and successful holding of three-tier elections, we have ushered in a new era of peace and stability. It is absolutely necessary for us to make this hard-earned peace sustained for generations to come.
Peace and stability can only be enduring when we achieve and maintain a high, broad-based and inclusive economic growth. The growth that is essential to realize our dream of Prosperous Nepal and Happy Nepali. The present Government has, therefore, accorded top priority to economic transformation to make this dream come true. Our collaboration is necessary for giving support to meet this goal.
In this context, let me underline that maintaining stability, advancing socio-economic transformation, ensuring social justice, good governance and rule of law in the country become all the more critical.
Studies have demonstrated that the rate and quality of development largely depends on evidenced-based policies and sound institutions that implement them in a result-oriented manner. Towards this direction, the Government is making necessary policy and institutional reforms.
However, there are many challenges that lie ahead on our path to fulfill the development dream.
First challenge is to build positive and inclusive institutions;
Second challenge is to enhance quality of factors of production;
Third challenge is to gain efficiency in the economy;
Fourth challenge is to meet double-digit growth rate;
Fifth challenge is to reduce poverty and inequality;
Sixth challenge is to bridge massive infrastructure gaps;
Seventh challenge is to build greater financial resilience;
Eighth challenge is to address risks of climate change vulnerability;
Last challenge is to allocate resources equitably in federal setup.
In overcoming those challenges, an enhanced level of economic partnership with NRNs, Diaspora and private sector is essential.
We have undertaken liberal policy framework in the country, but still it is not sufficient. There is a further need to Government undertake policy reforms. Diaspora can certainly contribute to make more conducive development policies at home as they are well-versed in concepts at work place and context at birth place.
Human capital is a key component in policymaking. Role of knowledge, skill and technology ideas is vital in human capital formation.
Besides investing more in the active factor of production (human capital) within the country, we are eager to make best use of knowledge of those who love Nepal, whose blood is Nepali and whose heart is Nepali. It is undoubtedly the NRNs and Diaspora who are in a unique position in enriching the quality of our human capital. We take every measure necessary for their meaningful engagement.
For a country grappling with brain drain, this event is a stepping stone for reversing it in the form of brain gain. Our ideal goal is to attract best brains into our beloved motherland.
In this context, I congratulate NRNA for their timely initiative to set up Nepal Policy Institute (NPI). The Government of Nepal has also made a similar institute named Policy Research Institute. The collaboration between both the institutes would be relevant and useful for making sound development policies in our country.
No doubt, we need a high economic growth for prosperity. For this, we have a goal of double-digit economic growth. To achieve this goal, physical, social, legal, administrative and economic institutions and infrastructure need be put in place.
Yet again, there is a need to improve good governance, policies, rules and laws and utilize excellent professional capabilities in government, private sectors and diaspora as well.
Once we create positive and inclusive institutions through legal reforms, quality of factors of production such as land, labour and capital will certainly go up.
By using these factors efficiently, we hope to achieve efficiency in our country’s economy.
The gain in efficiency will cause an expansion in the economy which will result in higher economic growth.
It is only through continuous high economic growth and its equitable distribution can prosperity sustain in the country.
In the course of economic development, we require huge resources. Since our domestic saving is not sufficient to meet our resources need, we have to mobilize foreign resources through foreign direct investment.
The Government has been taking various policy, institutional and programmatic initiatives to encourage and facilitate FDI and NRNs’ investment through economic diplomacy.
We are constantly striving to attract investment on export trade and tourism sector. We are also focusing on foreign employment management, technology transfer and climate change financing.
Undoubtedly, knowledge, skills, technology and capital from NRNs and Nepali Diaspora will provide a much-needed impetus for economic development.
Let me give a few account of NRNA and Nepali diaspora’s contributions in the country. NRN Investment and Infrastructure Company that already financed in hydropower sector and a recently initiated investment fund worth of ten billion are an encouraging gesture. Installation of Buddha statue in International Court of Justice; Laprak VDC Post Earthquake Model Residence Project (573 Houses Construction); Local Community Support Programs in Various Districts and many more can be added up in the list. Your promising efforts in making investment in the motherland are really appreciative.
Allow me to spell out me of our priority areas where you can make a visible difference.
• Technologies and techniques for high-yielding agro-varieties that are exemplary in Israel and Australia;
• Agro-mechanization as can be found in Japan or USA;commercial, educational and governance digitalization as practiced in Korea;
• Education and human resource development strategies as those of Singapore and Australia;
• Infrastructures like that of China, development of alternative energies alongside hydropower, science and technology as well as best practices in environmental protection.
As I spearhead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and being the focal Ministry for NRNs, we expect insightful well-researched policy inputs and recommendations from the Convention.
The Foreign Ministry is always supportive of NRNs right from the beginning to create an enabling environment for them and make most of their meaningful engagements in the country. We are planning to conduct a census like NRN survey in order to take stock of NRN expertise and explore a suitable area of their engagements.
I am confident that knowledge sharing between NRNs and the Government of Nepal will pave the way for developing creative and innovative use of tangible and intangible resources that NRNs and Nepali Diaspora have in order to brighten the face of the motherland.
To conclude, Janani Janma Bhumischa Sworgadapi Gariesi (Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven). We will march ahead shoulder to shoulder as one to accomplish our duty to the motherland.
Thank you for your kind attention.