What holds a least developed country's back? Of the many answers, one stands out: a lack of investment in infrastructure. Investment is crucial for economic and social development of a country, especially the least developed ones. Infrastructure makes possible other things. Road infrastructure, such as road, bridge, vehicle terminals and drainage, among others, makes possible transportation, which in turn makes possible movement of goods and people. Educational infrastructure works to produce skilled manpower. Digital infrastructure serves as the backbone of today's age of information communication technology (ICT), powering the internet, social media, computers, communication media and many more. To make our infrastructure work for our development, investing heavily in them is necessary. Even to entice prospective investors, we need adequate infrastructure in place to make their stay attractive.
In an effort to promote Nepal as an ideal investment destination, the government is organising the fourth Nepal Investment Summit from April 21-22, 2024 in Kathmandu. The event will bring together investors (foreign, Non-Resident Nepalis, and domestic), development partners, diplomatic missions, government representatives, media, experts, and other relevant stakeholders. The summit will be a platform for would-be investors to understand the investment environment and opportunities in Nepal through prominent national and international speakers, dignitaries, sector-specific experts, and high-ranking government representatives. In the past, the country hosted such summits in 1992, 2017 and 2019. However, a sad reality about them is that, despite all the hype, the pledged money in investment failed to materialise. The two-day event will be a test for the government to translate its commitment into reality.
There is no denying that without foreign direct investment and know-how, we cannot go far enough in our development endeavours. To make the country an attractive investors' destination, the successive governments have already undertaken a range of far-reaching policy reforms with a view to addressing the bottlenecks that impede investment, and offering the most attractive and secure investment opportunities to investors. And the incumbent one is commitment to taking further measures to reassure the investors' concerns about security, to reforming legal and bureaucratic hurdles.
Nobody invests in a risky place. Before embarking on a venture, every investor wants to feel assured that the security as well as returns of his or her investment is guaranteed. But, it's also true that, amid climate concerns, many want to pour their money in areas that contribute positively to the environmental health of the planet. One such area is renewable energy. The world has seen a flurry of investments in clean energy, a move away from the fossil fuel. With the country producing more and more hydroelectricity and increasing number of electric vehicles (EV) plying the roads, the situation has necessitated many charging stations and other infrastructure for such vehicles to recharge their batteries. This sector is ripe for revolution, and to hasten it, we need more related investment.
Besides, tourism, agriculture, energy and industry are the sectors where investment is highly likely to generate handsome returns. With availability of abundant power supply, manufacturing looks more promising than ever. Rich in cultural heritages, the country has enough to offer to arouse tourists' interests. Home to a widely varying topographies all packed in a small place, and rich in water resources, the potential of agriculture in the country is also huge. All in all, Nepal is creating a conducive climate to attract foreign investors in a win-win manner.