Reference > World Factbook, 2008
  The World Factbook.  2008.
Flag of Nepal                                Map of Nepal
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. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for "incompetence" after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. Citing dissatisfaction with the government's lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The king's government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency in May 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until April 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene in April 2006. Following a November 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in January 2007. The peace accord calls for the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly elections, already twice delayed, are set for April 2008.
Location:Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references:Asia
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
Population:28,901,790 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:0-14 years: 38.3% (male 5,721,720/female 5,360,391)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 8,597,037/female 8,134,115)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 528,113/female 560,414) (2007 est.)
Median age:total: 20.5 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 20.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:2.132% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:30.46 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:9.14 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.067 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.942 male(s)/female
total population: 1.056 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:total: 63.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:total population: 60.56 years
male: 60.78 years
female: 60.33 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:4.01 children born/woman (2007 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)
Country name:conventional long and short form: Nepal
local long and short form: Nepal
Government type:constitutional monarchy
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: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: Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet historically appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the prime minister selected the Cabinet in May 2006 in consultation with the political parties
elections: following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition historically has been appointed prime minister by the monarch
Legislative branch:a 330 seat Interim Parliament was formed on 15 January 2007 following the promulgation of an interim constitution
elections: Constituent Assembly elections orginally scheduled for June 2007 are expected to be held on 10 April 2008
election results: Interim Parliament seats by party - NC 85, CPN/M 83, CPN/UML 83, NC/D 48, RPP 9, NSP/AD 5, NWPP 4, People's Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group) 4, People's Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group) 3, UFL 3, People's Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group) 2, NSP 1
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:Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Pashupati Shumsher RANA] (also called Rastriya Prajantra Party or RPP); Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP - Mandal [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party - Ananda Devi [Ananda DEVI]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; People's Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group); People's Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group); People's Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group); Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA] (split from RPP in March 2005); Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal (merged with People's Front Nepal or PFN in 2002); United Leftist Front or UFL [C.P. MAINALI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:Maoist guerrilla-based insurgency [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI]; numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small, radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups
Diplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Suresh Chandra CHALISE
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general:
New York:
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
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—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):$30.66 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$9.627 billion (2007 est.)
GDP—real growth rate:2.5% (2007 est.)
GDP—per capita (PPP):$1,100 (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.)
Population below poverty line:30.9% (2004)
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)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):8.6% (November 2006 est.)
Budget:revenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion (FY06/07)
Agriculture—products:rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Industries:tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate:2.2% (FY05/06)
Electricity—production:2.511 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity—consumption:1.96 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity—exports:101 million kWh (2006)
Electricity—imports:266 million kWh (2006)
Oil—production:0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil—consumption:11,550 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil—exports:0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil—imports:11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil—proved reserves:0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas—production:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—consumption:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—exports:0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas—imports:0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas—proved reserves:0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
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 67.9%, US 11.7%, Germany 4.7% (2006)
Imports:$2.398 billion f.o.b. (2006)
Imports—commodities:gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports—partners:India 61.8%, China 3.8%, Indonesia 3.3% (2006)
Debt—external:$3.07 billion (March 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment—at home:$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment—abroad:$NA
Market value of publicly traded shares:$963.5 million (2005)
Economic aid—recipient:$427.9 million (2005)
Currency (code):Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Exchange rates:Nepalese rupees per US dollar - NA (2007), 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003)
Fiscal year:16 July - 15 July
Telephones—main lines in use:595,800 (2006)
Telephones—mobile cellular:1.042 million (2006)
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)
Radio broadcast stations:AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Internet country
Internet hosts:18,733 (2007)
Internet users:249,400 (2006)
Airports:47 (2007)
Airports—with paved runways:total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Airports—with unpaved runways:total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 30 (2007)
Railways:total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2006)
Roadways:total: 17,380 km
paved: 9,886 km
unpaved: 7,494 km (2004)
Military branches:Nepalese Army, Armed Police Force (2008)
Military service age and obligation:18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:males age 18-49: 6,107,091
females age 18-49: 5,744,989 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:males age 18-49: 4.193 million
females age 18-49: 3,853,102 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:males age 18-49: 308,031
females age 18-49: 286,604 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures—percent of GDP:1.6% (2006)
Transnational Issues
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): 106,248 (Bhutan), 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 100,000-200,000 (ongoing conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels; displacement spread across the country) (2006)
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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