Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with slow economic growth. Widespread, entrenched inequality exists in access to basic services for minority and traditionally marginalised groups, women and those with disabilities. This inequality has been a key driver of conflict and instability. A more stable, prosperous Nepal has the potential to trade more and contribute to broader regional growth.
Australian aid investments aim to expand economic opportunities for the poor and address barriers to participation and productivity. Programmes target micro-enterprise development, job creation, improving access to quality health and education services and strengthening the Government of Nepal’s financial management systems. Australia works closely with the Government of Nepal and other like-minded donors in the delivery of these programmes.
Tul Bahadur BK runs a furniture making business that has received electric tools as part of the MEDEP support (credit: DFAT).
Australia will enable private sector development through:
- the Micro-Enterprise Development Program which aims to foster an enabling environment for private sector employment creation. In 2014-15, the majority of beneficiaries will continue to be poor women (70 per cent), youth and individuals from socially marginalised groups. Since 1998, the programme has created more than 70,000 micro-entrepreneurs and directly created more than 70,000 jobs. Facilitating entrepreneurship and innovation to drive economic growth is a key policy priority for the Government of Nepal.
Mother Nishal Thapa brings her child to a health clinic in Pokhara, Nepal (credit: DFAT).
Investments in Nepal’s education and health sectors will contribute to a productive work force, and will include:
- improving nutrition, child survival rates and maternal health of the poor
- strengthening public education through the Nepalese Government’s School Sector Reform Program by improving quality and promoting inclusion of more than 3.8 million girls and boys from poor and marginalised communities, including children with disabilities
- targeted scholarships to Nepalese for post-graduate studies and short-courses in Australia through the Australia Awards. Australia will provide 35 Australia Awards Scholarships to Nepal.
These investments in education are addressing key knowledge and skills gaps which are currently limiting domestic growth and remittance incomes.
A student at a primary school in Pokhara, Nepal (credit: DFAT).
Australian aid will build effective governance through:
- support of a World Bank managed multi-donor trust fund designed to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s public financial management institutions. Projects in 2014-15 will include updating Nepal’s financial reporting standards, monitoring education expenditure, and strengthening the voice of civil society to demand better public financial management.
Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.
Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.