Nepal is a land-locked country with a strategic location between China in the north and India in the east, west and south. It contains eight of world’s ten highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga – the world’s tallest and third tallest mountains. The terrain varies from the river plain of the Ganges in the south, through the central hill region to the rugged Himalayas in the north. The climate varies from cool summers and severe winters in the north to subtropical summers and mild winters in the south. The population is 81% Hindu, 9% Buddhist and 4% Muslim. Only 20% of the people live in towns. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for almost two-thirds of the population but accounting for less than a third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Nepal is heavily dependent on remittances, which amount to as much as 30% of GDP.
Nepal is one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries, with about one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Nepal has been attempting hard to reduce poverty and bring in social and economic transformation. However, an agriculture-based economy, a landlocked and isolated location, political uncertainty and a difficult business climate have combined to hamper foreign investment and long-term economic growth. Despite these, the number of people living below the poverty line has been decreasing, per capita income of Nepalese citizens has been increasing, living standards are improving, as too in recent times are access to health, education, transportation and communication.
- The Gross Domestic Product per person was estimated at US$2,700 in 2017 (ranking Nepal at number195 in the world)
- Health expenditure in 2014 was assessed at 5.8% of GDP (ranking Nepal at number 110 in the world)
- Infant mortality was 28 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017 (ranking Nepal at number 67)
- Life expectancy at birth was 71 years in 2017 (ranking Nepal at number 153)
Data source: CIA World Fact Book