An online guide to investing in Nepal was launched by UNCTAD and the Department of Industry of Nepal on February 13 in Kathmandu.
The guide aims at providing potential foreign investors with key business, legal and contact information, and at helping the Government of Nepal attract more and better foreign investment in line with its development needs. The Himalayan republic remains among the world's 49 least developed countries, according to UNCTAD.
The iGuide to Nepal provides investors online with updated and hard-to-find information on operating costs, wages, rents and taxes that can be inserted into an investor's business model, as well as laws, procedures and useful contacts.
The experiences of current investors in Nepal are also included.
Fifty-five members of Nepal's foreign and local private sector, and government representatives, attended the launch.
Mr. Ian Richards, Economic Affairs Officer at UNCTAD, demonstrated how the iGuides provide critical information for investment decisions with the click of a mouse.
The site's coverage of investment opportunities in agriculture, hydropower, tourism, health services, pharmaceuticals, light manufacturing and minerals was also highlighted.
Mr. Krishna Gyawali, Secretary of Nepal's Ministry of Industry, said the iGuide was a "very useful and important website that contains all information for investors to come and invest in Nepal."
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, complemented the government on the work it did to research and enter information into the site. "It is good," he said, "to see something that is not simply a sit-on-the-shelf document. Instead, the iGuide, through its format, can remain up-to-date and always relevant."
UNCTAD's Director for Africa and the Least Developed Countries, Mr. Taffere Tesfachew, told the government that the website itself would not be enough to attract the foreign investment Nepal needed.
"The government has an essential role to play in identifying and targeting potential investors, developing a specialized institution for investment promotion, putting forward compelling investment proposals, highlighting key opportunities and facilitating their establishment in Nepal," Mr. Tesfachew said.
"This requires bold decisions on investment promotion strategy, policy coordination across key government departments, continuous consultation with the private sector and a significant investment capacity building and the strengthening of institutions."
Mr. Tesfachew took opportunity of the Kathmandu event to invite participants to the 4th World Investment Forum, taking place in Geneva this October.
The iGuide Nepal is part of UNCTAD's technical assistance activities to strengthen national capacity for foreign direct investment into land-locked developing countries.
Country sites for the iGuides platform have also been launched in Burundi, Djibouti and Rwanda and will be developed by the end of the year in Bhutan, Eastern Morocco, Kenya, Mongolia, Tanzania and Uganda.