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Introduction


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
Location:
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
28 00 N, 84 00 E
Area:
total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries:
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain:
Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources:
quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)
Irrigated land:
11,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
210.2 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
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
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
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

People
Population:
29,519,114 (July 2008 est.)
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.)
Median age:
total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.095% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
29.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
8.97 deaths/1,000 population (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.)
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.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.94 years
male: 61.12 years
female: 60.75 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.91 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
61,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
3,100 (2003 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)
Nationality:
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
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)
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
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.)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2003)
Education expenditures:
3.4% of GDP (2003)

Government
Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
local short form: Nepal
Government type:
democratic republic
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)
Administrative divisions:
14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Independence:
1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
National holiday:
NA; note - in 2006, Parliament abolished the birthday of King GYANENDRA (7 July) and Constitution Day (9 November) as national holidays
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
Legal system:
based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
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: selected by the prime minister
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
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))
note: KOIRALA called the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly on 28 May 2008
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
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)
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]
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
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
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

Economy
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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$29.29 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$9.627 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,000 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 38%
industry: 20%
services: 42% (FY05/06 est.)
Labor force:
11.11 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
42% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 40.6% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
47.2 (2004)
Budget:
revenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion (FY06/07)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.4% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
6.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money:
$2.184 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money:
$4.745 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit:
$5.636 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Industries:
tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate:
2.2% (FY05/06)
Electricity - production:
2.703 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
2.276 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports:
165 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports:
380 million kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
16,960 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports:
11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
$58 million (2007)
Exports:
$830 million f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2006)
Exports - commodities:
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Exports - partners:
India 69.3%, US 8.8%, Germany 4.1% (2007)
Imports:
$2.398 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Imports - commodities:
gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports - partners:
India 58.9%, China 13.6%, Japan 1.6% (2007)
Debt - external:
$3.07 billion (March 2006)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$963.5 million (2005)
Currency (code):
Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Exchange rates:
Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar - NA (2007), 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003)

 
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