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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing nine-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. The newly formed interim parliament declared Nepal a democratic federal republic at its first meeting in May 2008, the king vacated the throne in mid-June 2008, and parliament elected the country's first president the following month.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
210.2 cu km (1999)

Land boundaries:
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Climate:
varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south

Map references:
Asia

Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 84 00 E

Natural resources:
quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m

Terrain:
Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

Area:
total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km

Location:
Southern Asia, between China and India

Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Arkansas

Irrigated land:
11,700 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Land use:
arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.91 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
61,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.94 years
male: 61.12 years
female: 60.75 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Japanese encephalitis and malaria (2008)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)

Median age:
total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)

Population:
29,519,114 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.4% of GDP (2003)

Population growth rate:
2.095% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)

Death rate:
8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
3,100 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2003)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 38% (male 5,792,042/female 5,427,370)
15-64 years: 58.2% (male 8,832,488/female 8,345,724)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 542,192/female 579,298) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
29.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
note: only official Hindu state in the world

Nationality:
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Nancy J. POWELL
embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 400-7200
FAX: [977] (1) 400-7272

National holiday:
NA; note - in 2006, Parliament abolished the birthday of King GYANENDRA (7 July) and Constitution Day (9 November) as national holidays

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
federal democratic republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: several small armed Madhesi groups along the southern border with India; a variety of groups advocating regional autonomy for individual ethnic groups

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Kali POKHREL
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general:
New York:

International organization participation:
ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral Constituent Assembly (601 seats; 240 seats decided by direct popular vote; 335 seats by proportional representation; 26 appointed by the Cabinet (Council of Ministers))
elections: last held 10 April 2008 (next to be held NA)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPN-M 220, NC 110, CPN-UML 103, Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum 52, Terai Madhesi Democratic Party/Nepal Sadbhawana Party 29, other smaller parties 61; note - 26 seats to be filled by the new Cabinet

Legal system:
based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun

Independence:
1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
local short form: Nepal

Political parties and leaders:
Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party [Keshav Prasad MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI]; Communist Party of Nepal (ML) [C.P. MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal (Unified) [Raj Singh SHRIS]; Communist Party of Nepal (United) [Ganesh SHAH]; Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Amrit Kumar BOHARA]; Dalit Janajati Party [Vishwendraman PASHWAN]; Janamorcha Nepal [Amik SHERCHAN]; Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum [Upendra YADAV]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Pashupati Shumsher RANA] (also called Rastriya Prajatantra Party or RPP); Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal [Upendra GACHCHHADAR]; Nepal Pariwar Dal [Vinod DANGI]; Nepal Rastriya Party [Khushilal YADAV]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi) [Shyam Sundar GUPTA]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress Party or NCP [Girija Prasad KOIRALA]; Nepali Janata Dal [Bharat Prasad MAHATO]; Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra BAHADUR K.C.]; Rastriya Janamukti Party [Malwar Singh THAPA]; Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA] (split from RPP in March 2005); Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal [Kamal THAPA]; Sadbhavana Party (Mahato) [Rajendra MAHATO]; Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal [Prem Bahadur SINGH]; Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch [Kamal CHHARAHANG]; Terai Madhesi Democratic Party [Mahantha THAKUR]

Capital:
name: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
9 November 1990; note - a new interim constitution was promulgated in January 2007; the November 2006 peace agreement calls for the election of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new permanent constitution

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (as of 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (as of 23 July 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal DAHAL (as of 18 August 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev GAUTAM
cabinet: cabinet formed in August 2008 by a majority coalition made up of the Communist Party Nepal (Marxist), Communist Party Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist, and Mahdesi Jana Adhikar Forum
elections: president elected by Parliament; term NA; election last held 21 July 2008
election results: Ram Baran YADAV elected president by the Constituent Assembly in a second round of voting on 21 July 2008; Ram Baran YADAV 308, Ram Jaja Prasad SINGH 282

Administrative divisions:
14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
India 69.3%, US 8.8%, Germany 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
2.276 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
6.25% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
380 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$58 million (2007)

Debt - external:
$3.07 billion (March 2006)

Unemployment rate:
42% (2004 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,000 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$5.636 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$30.84 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$12.64 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
47.2 (2004)

Exchange rates:
Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar - NA (2007), 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
4% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.184 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
11.11 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2006 est.)

Imports - partners:
India 58.9%, China 13.6%, Japan 1.6% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.4% (2007 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 38%
industry: 20%
services: 42% (FY05/06 est.)

Oil - imports:
11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Exports:
$830 million f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Nepalese rupee (NPR)

Economy - overview:
Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns relating to the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster. Bumper crops, better security, improved transportation, and increased tourism pushed growth past 4% in 2008, after growth had hovered around 2.3% - the rate of population growth - for the previous three years.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer

Industries:
tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Electricity - exports:
165 million kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
30.9% (2004)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.745 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
2.703 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Imports:
$2.398 billion f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
16,960 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$4.909 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:
NPR

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 40.6% (2004)

Exports - commodities:
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain

Economic aid - recipient:
$427.9 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 8.5%
hydro: 91.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion (FY06/07)

Fiscal year:
16 July - 15 July

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
337,100 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
766,400 (2007)

Televisions:
130,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.np

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2000)

Radios:
840,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.157 million (2006)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)

Telephone system:
general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile-cellular telephone network
domestic: NA
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6 (2000)

Internet hosts:
42,219 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Railways:
total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2006)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 17,280 km
paved: 9,829 km
unpaved: 7,451 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 30 (2007)

Airports:
47 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for military training; no conscription (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 7,322,965
females age 16-49: 6,859,064 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 5,146,958
females age 16-49: 4,724,495 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 335,747
female: 312,297 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.6% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 107,803 (Bhutan); 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 50,000-70,000 (remaining from ten-year Maoist insurgency that officially ended in 2006; displacement spread across the country) (2007)

Illicit drugs:
illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West

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