KATHMANDU: Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Wednesday that Nepal believed that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could support countries like Nepal to grow and prosper at an accelerated speed.
Addressing a workshop on “The Belt and Road Initiative in Nepal: Opportunities and Challenges” in the capital, Minister Gyawali said that as a framework to spur investment and enhance connectivity, BRI could be instrumental in addressing the development bottlenecks arising out of connectivity and mobilising finances for development while ensuring win-win benefits.
“Being a landlocked country, Nepal is paying at least 20 per cent additional costs to its production and transit-transport cycle. It is contributing (negatively) to shrink its competitiveness in global market. This fact speaks a volume about the critical importance of connectivity to Nepal,” Minister Gyawali stated.
Stating that Nepal had become a part of the BRI after it signed an MoU in 2017, the Minister said that they were committed to implementing the MoU of Cooperation under BRI to promote sustainable development consistent with Nepal’s development needs.
“Efficient connectivity will unfold manifold opportunities in various fields, including in trade, investment, manufacturing and tourism,” he said. He further said that the two countries were committed to enhancing connectivity encompassing vital components such as ports, roads, railways, aviation and communications within the framework of Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network.
“It is a matter of happiness that Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation has included in its annex “Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network, including Nepal-China cross-border railway”,” Gyawali added. To achieve these goals, Nepal wanted to require massive investment in infrastructure development, said Gyawali, adding that Nepal also wanted to require huge investment of capital and modern technology as well as expertise in the related fields.
He expressed his belief that Chinese assistance and collaboration through the BRI could be significant in supporting Nepal’s development needs in infrastructures.
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