As Vice President, I attended the most recent Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) meeting that was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Nepal is an interesting country. Geographically located between the two continents of China and India, they are uniquely placed for an improving economic position as their neighbours global standing improves. It would seem Nepal is preparing well to take advantage of this position.
Currently, Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, can feel somewhat chaotic, but politically this is definitely a country to watch.
After meeting their President Bidhya Devi Bhandar (front and centre in this image), as well as other Ministers and business leaders it is evident that they have clear and ambitious plans for their country. Nepal’s location is particularly relevant to China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR). OBOR is a Chinese economic and strategic agenda by which the two ends of Eurasia, as well as Africa and Oceania, are being more closely tied along two routes–one overland and one maritime. Supporters suggest that the initiative permits new infrastructure and economic aid to be provided to needy economies. Critics claim that it facilitates Chinese economic and strategic domination of the countries along these routes.
So far China has been investing heavily in the infrastructure to deploy the OBOR. As China builds rail and road infrastructure up to its borders, Nepal eyes its role in connecting India and China, as well as the wider world.
As part of our CACCI Meeting, we were fortunate enough to attend the Presidential Palace and meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandar. She is the second and current elected President of Nepal and commander in chief of Nepalese army. She is also the first female head of state of Nepal.
A further social activity that we attended whilst in Nepal was the wedding of a colleague’s daughter. It was a spectacular and extravagant affair. The invitation alone was glamorous and as is the Nepalese tradition, it was an event that extended over many days involving a range of different ‘sub-events’.