Press release: LinkFest talk “From Thoughts to Actions” organised
Kathmandu, 27 June 2017
For immediate release
LinkFest talk “From Thoughts to Actions” organised
The French Embassy, Alliance Française de Katmandou, and Nepal Economic Forum organized a talk program titled “Linkfest talk on Economic Development in Landlocked Countries Part 2” earlier today.
This talk program is a follow up to the “Night of Ideas” debate program held in January 2017 which focused more on the policy aspects.
For today’s talk, the objective was to make a shift from vision to actions and explore how the issue of land linked could in fact be beneficial.
The panelists for today’s talk program included:
1- Mr Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director of CUTS international, Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (India)
2- Mr Francois Driard (फ्रंस्वा द्रिया), CEO of Himalayan French Cheese (Nepal)
3- Mr Kulman Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (Nepal)
4- Mr Minh Pham, former UN Resident Coordinator
5- Mme Rensje Teerink, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Nepal (Nepal)
Some of the key points raised by the panelists:
Mr Minh Pham stressed that by 2025 Nepal will be neighbors with the largest economy in the world, China and by 2050, with the second largest economy, India. Therefore, Nepal should leverage on this situation and reap maximum benefits. To do so, he laid out two main strategies for Nepal. Firstly, Nepal needs to change its mindset and consider its relationship with the two giant economic powers a positive sum game rather than a zero sum game. Secondly, Nepal should develop their economic and political diplomacy if it is to gain maximum benefits from its neighbors and also focus on “infrastructure diplomacy”.
Mr Kulman Ghising emphasized the importance of regional connectivity for Nepal and its potential to bring about immense benefits for Nepal’s economy. He underscored that since China is geographically very close to Nepal, Nepal has the potential to export energy through high transmission lines. Additionally, he thinks market integration and a stable energy banking structure are critical to enabling the energy sector to reach its maximum potential.
Mr Bipul Chatterjee mentioned that for any initiative to work Consultation, Consensus and Collaboration are three keys. In this regard, he talked about the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative and stressed that cooperation between countries is essential in moving forward. He further gave the Great Mekong Subregion (GMS), an initiative by ADB in the SouthEast Asian Region, as a model to work on for the South Asian region.
Mr Francois Driard provided his experience as an entrepreneur in Nepal and emphasized on the need for a wider market for Nepali entrepreneurs. He highlighted that a major hurdle for entrepreneurs is the simplification of exporting process to reach international standards which requires working closely with the government.
Mme Rensje Teerink provided EU as a model of regional connectivity. She further stressed that regional connectivity cannot be determined by political differences and requires political will of nations to come together and integrate. Moreover, she highlighted that while there are many initiatives for connectivity in the South Asian region, political will is of paramount importance.
The discussion was moderated by Mr. Sujeev Shakya, Chairperson of Nepal Economic Forum who emphasized on the continuation of this discourse. He informed that CUTS and NEF will keep on working together on addressing some of the issues raised in the discussion, like the implementation of BBIN. Moreover, the theme of HCS 2018 will be linking the Himalayas with the Mekong region.
H.E. Ambassador Mr Yves Carmona (ईभ कार्मोना), Ambassador of France, gave the closing remarks at the occasion.
The attendees included the members of the diplomatic corps, senior officers from the Government of Nepal, researchers, students, and representatives of media.
As part of the LinkFest, a talk program at the Kathmandu University School of Management was also organized to the students of the Masters level.
About the “LinkFest”: LinkFest is conceived as a platform to bring in people who believe in the concept of linkage, rather than isolation, to ideate on what can be done to connect in a better way.
About Alliance Française/Katmandou (AFK): AFK acts as the official French cultural center in Nepal, and as such aims to spread the Francophone culture by organizing cultural events. AFK was created in 1994 and promotes the French language by offering French classes that are open to all. So far, it is the only certified French Institute in Nepal.
About Nepal Economic Forum: Nepal Economic Forum is a not-for-profit organization that functions as Nepal’s premier private sector led economic policy and research institution. Neftalk is a platform for policy discourse and discussion on pertinent economic issues.
Deepesh Bidari, Chargé de Mission, French Embassy