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My name is C2C Gabriella Gray and I am from Denver, Colorado. I am very excited for this upcoming trip to Nepal. I am currently Squadron 22’s Superintendent, Honor NCO, and PEER for this semester. I am an Economics major with a French minor and also a Women’s Soccer intercollegiate athlete. Luckily, spring is less hectic for soccer therefore I have been able to use a lot of my free time to research Nepal.
As a group we have been able to speak with an USAFA graduate who lives and works in Nepal. He gave invaluable insight on not only the everyday business life but also information on weather, food, and basic things we should know. We also meet with Dr. Kelly regularly to discuss the trip and many things that must get accomplished. Individually, I have been focusing on understanding Nepal’s history and also looking at current events in the country. I began reading The End of Poverty as well to help me understand the current state of many Nepalese. I am looking forward to experiencing firsthand what day to day life is like in Nepal; with this knowledge I hope to grow a deeper understanding on what the real issues with poverty are and how to go about solving them.
Nepal has recently announced that it is attempting to modernize its economy by joining the Better Than Cash Alliance. The employment of this system is an attempt to make financial services more transparent, cost effective and available to their citizens Nepal's Minister of Finance stated in a press conference. Another advantage to this new system is the ability to digitize tax collection and social security payments
In a statement on Monday, Dr Ruth Goodwin-Groen, the managing director of The Better Than Cash Alliance stated "We welcome Nepal into the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend them for their determination to grow the economy ... Digital payments provide sustainable benefits to countries like Nepal that are looking to drive inclusive economic growth."
This system is set to be implemented in the next few months but Nepal faces numerous roadblocks in the months ahead. From a lack of electricity to formal banking, it will be interesting to see how Nepal fares with this new system.
Agricultural Industry in Nepal:
The agriculture industry in Nepal is a huge problem for the inhabitants. Two-thirds of citizens rely on agriculture for their economic well-being; this sector contributes 40 percent of the country’s GDP and employs 80% of the work force. With most Nepalese working in the low paying agriculture sector, all of their income goes to surviving and not towards growing. This also puts 80% of the population at a severe disadvantage if there is a bad crop year. In order to break the trend of the majority of the labor force working in agriculture farmers need to be introduced to more efficient seeds and farming techniques.
Infrastructure – Roads
Nepal struggles to establish itself as a key component of the world trade organization being a land locked country. Another component to this struggle is the lack of infrastructure the country currently has, and more specifically: the road system of Nepal. Nepal’s major road expansion commenced in February 2014, but has faced tremendous problems in the construction. Nepal’s rugged landscape results in a tremendous challenge in paving new roads. From the high mountains to the rivers that seem to change course on a weekly basis, the Department of Transportation Management has shown signs of doubt in constructing these desired roads. If Nepal is able to successfully complete this new road system that commenced in February of last year, it would reduce the duration of travel from the capital Kathmandu to the farmland by nearly seven hours. The government of Nepal has expressed that this would ultimately increase the country’s economic situation as 75% of the country’s workforce is farmland oriented while 35% of the GDP involved agriculture (2014).
Although many economists such as Jeffery Sachs states that it is a disadvantage to being a land locked country, Nepal’s geographical location is a prime spot to enter the world trade market. Situated between China and India, two of the world’s largest exporter of goods, Nepal has continued to maintain strong relations with both of these countries. Increasing the infrastructure could allow China and India to funnel more goods through Nepal, and allow it to be built up in an ever increasing global market.