The south face of the Annapurna Massif in the Annapurna Conservation Area. The highest peak of the massif, Annapurna I Main, is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 m above sea level.
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Introduction

Background

During the late 18th-early 19th centuries, the principality of Gorkha united many of the other principalities and states of the sub-Himalayan region into a Nepali Kingdom. Nepal retained its independence following the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16 and the subsequent peace treaty laid the foundations for two centuries of amicable relations between Britain and Nepal. (The Brigade of Gurkhas continues to serve in the British Army to the present day.) In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system that brought political parties into the government. That arrangement lasted until 1960, when political parties were again banned, but was reinstated in 1990 with the establishment of a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy.

An insurgency led by Maoists broke out in 1996. During the ensuing 10-year civil war between Maoist and government forces, the monarchy dissolved the cabinet and parliament and re-assumed absolute power in 2002, after the crown prince massacred the royal family in 2001. A peace accord in 2006 led to the promulgation of an interim constitution in 2007. Following a nationwide Constituent Assembly (CA) election in 2008, the newly formed CA declared Nepal a federal democratic republic, abolished the monarchy, and elected the country's first president. After the CA failed to draft a constitution by a 2012 deadline set by the Supreme Court, then-Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI dissolved the CA. Months of negotiations ensued until 2013 when the major political parties agreed to create an interim government headed by then-Chief Justice Khil Raj REGMI with a mandate to hold elections for a new CA. Elections were held in 2013, in which the Nepali Congress (NC) won the largest share of seats in the CA and in 2014 formed a coalition government with the second-place Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) with NC President Sushil KOIRALA serving as prime minister. Nepal's new constitution came into effect in 2015, at which point the CA became the Parliament. Khagda Prasad Sharma OLI served as the first post-constitution prime minister from 2015 to 2016. OLI resigned ahead of a no-confidence motion against him, and Parliament elected Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) leader Pushpa Kamal DAHAL (aka "Prachanda") prime minister. The constitution provided for a transitional period during which three sets of elections – local, provincial, and national – needed to take place. The first local elections in 20 years occurred in three phases between May and September 2017, and state and federal elections proceeded in two phases in November and December 2017. The parties headed by OLI and DAHAL ran in coalition and swept the parliamentary elections, and OLI, who led the larger of the two parties, was sworn in as prime minister in February 2018. In May 2018, OLI and DAHAL announced the merger of their parties - the UML and CPN-M - to establish the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), which headed the government for roughly two years before infighting led the party to split. OLI from late 2020 sought to dissolve parliament and hold elections. The supreme court in July 2021 declared OLI's efforts unconstitutional and called for an appointment of the opposition-supported NC leader Sher Bahadur DEUBA as prime minister.

 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates

28 00 N, 84 00 E

Area

total: 147,181 sq km

land: 143,351 sq km

water: 3,830 sq km

country comparison to the world: 95

Area - comparative

slightly larger than New York state

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 3,159 km

border countries (2): China 1,389 km; India 1,770 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 with rugged Himalayas in north

Elevation

highest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,849 m

lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m

mean elevation: 2,565 m

Natural resources

quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use

agricultural land: 28.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 12.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 25.4% (2018 est.)

other: 45.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

13,320 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Indus (1,081,718 sq km)

Major aquifers

Indus-Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin

Population distribution

most of the population is divided nearly equally between a concentration in the southern-most plains of the Tarai region and the central hilly region; overall density is quite low

Natural hazards

severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

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 mountains - on the borders with China and India respectively

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Nepali (singular and plural)

adjective: Nepali

Ethnic groups

Chhettri 16.6%, Brahman-Hill 12.2%, Magar 7.1%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.8%, Newar 5%, Kami 4.8%, Muslim 4.4%, Yadav 4%, Rai 2.3%, Gurung 2%, Damai/Dholii 1.8%, Thakuri 1.6%, Limbu 1.5%, Sarki 1.4%, Teli 1.4%, Chamar/Harijan/Ram 1.3%, Koiri/Kushwaha 1.2%, other 19% (2011 est.)

note: 125 caste/ethnic groups were reported in the 2011 national census

Languages

Nepali (official) 44.6%, Maithali 11.7%, Bhojpuri 6%, Tharu 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.2%, Bajjika 3%, Magar 3%, Doteli 3%, Urdu 2.6%, Avadhi 1.9%, Limbu 1.3%, Gurung 1.2%, Baitadeli 1%, other 6.4%, unspecified 0.2%; note - 123 languages reported as mother tongue in 2011 national census; many in government and business also speak English (2011 est.)

major-language sample(s):
विश्व तथ्य पुस्तक,आधारभूत जानकारीको लागि अपरिहार्य स्रोत (Nepali)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Nepali audio sample:

Religions

Hindu 81.3%, Buddhist 9%, Muslim 4.4%, Kirant 3.1%, Christian 1.4%, other 0.5%, unspecified 0.2% (2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.32% (male 4,175,742/female 3,956,153)

15-64 years: 67.52% (male 10,016,748/female 10,846,101)

65 years and over: 6.16% (2023 est.) (male 930,510/female 974,189)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 54.9

youth dependency ratio: 45.5

elderly dependency ratio: 9.4

potential support ratio: 10.7 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 25.3 years

male: 23.9 years

female: 26.9 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 161

Birth rate

17.26 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 88

Death rate

5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Net migration rate

-4.29 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Population distribution

most of the population is divided nearly equally between a concentration in the southern-most plains of the Tarai region and the central hilly region; overall density is quite low

Urbanization

urban population: 21.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.09% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.571 million KATHMANDU (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.4 years (2016 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

174 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Infant mortality rate

total: 24.55 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 25.84 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 23.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.67 years

male: 71.95 years

female: 73.44 years (2023 est.)

country comparison to the world: 158

Gross reproduction rate

0.91 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 92.7% of population

rural: 94.4% of population

total: 94.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 7.3% of population

rural: 5.6% of population

total: 5.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.2% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

0.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 95.1% of population

rural: 85.7% of population

total: 87.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 4.9% of population

rural: 14.3% of population

total: 12.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0.36 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.22 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.13 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 167

Tobacco use

total: 30.4% (2020 est.)

male: 47.9% (2020 est.)

female: 12.8% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 7.9%

women married by age 18: 32.8%

men married by age 18: 9% (2019 est.)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 67.9%

male: 78.6%

female: 59.7% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 13 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 9.5%

male: 10.6%

female: 8.6% (2021 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); forest degradation; soil erosion; contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); unmanaged solid-waste; wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 94.33 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 9.11 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 41.15 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south

Land use

agricultural land: 28.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 12.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 25.4% (2018 est.)

other: 45.8% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 21.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 3.09% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1,768,977 tons (2016 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Indus (1,081,718 sq km)

Major aquifers

Indus-Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 147.6 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 29.5 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 9.32 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

210.2 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Nepal

local long form: none

local short form: Nepal

etymology: the Newar people of the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas apparently gave their name to the country; the terms "Nepal," "Newar," "Nepar," and "Newal" are phonetically different forms of the same word

Government type

federal parliamentary 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)

etymology: name derives from the Kasthamandap temple that stood in Durbar Square; in Sanskrit, kastha means "wood" and mandapa means "pavilion"; the three-story structure was made entirely of wood, without iron nails or supports, and dated to the late 16th century; it collapsed during a 2015 earthquake

Administrative divisions

7 provinces (pradesh, singular - pradesh); Bagmati, Gandaki, Karnali, Lumbini, Madhesh, Province No. One, Sudurpashchim

Independence

1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

National holiday

Constitution Day, 20 September (2015); note - marks the promulgation of Nepal’s constitution in 2015 and replaces the previous 28 May Republic Day as the official national day in Nepal; the Gregorian day fluctuates based on Nepal’s Hindu calendar

Constitution

history: several previous; latest approved by the Second Constituent Assembly 16 September 2015, signed by the president and effective 20 September 2015

amendments: proposed as a bill by either house of the Federal Parliament; bills affecting a state border or powers delegated to a state must be submitted to the affected state assembly; passage of such bills requires a majority vote of that state assembly membership; bills not requiring state assembly consent require at least two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses of the Federal Parliament; parts of the constitution on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty vested in the people cannot be amended; amended 2016, 2020

Legal system

English common law and Hindu legal concepts; note - new criminal and civil codes came into effect on 17 August 2018

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 15 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ram Chandra POUDEL (since 13 March 2023); Vice President Nanda Bahadar PUN (since 31 October 2015)

head of government: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur DEUBA (since 13 July 2021); deputy prime ministers Ishwar POKHREL, Upendra YADAV (since 1 June 2018) (an)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister; cabinet dominated by the Nepal Communist Party

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by an electoral college of the Federal Parliament and of the state assemblies for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 13 March 2018 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister indirectly elected by the Federal Parliament

election results: Bidhya Devi BHANDARI reelected president; electoral vote - Bidhya Devi BHANDARI (CPN-UML) 39,275, Kumari Laxmi RAI (NC) 11,730

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Federal Parliament consists of:
National Assembly (59 seats; 56 members, including at least 3 women, 1 Dalit, 1 member with disabilities, or 1 minority indirectly elected by an electoral college of state and municipal government leaders, and 3 members, including 1 woman, nominated by the president of Nepal on the recommendation of the government; members serve 6-year terms with renewal of one-third of the membership every 2 years)
House of Representatives (275 seats; 165 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 110 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed-list proportional representation vote, with a threshold of 3% overall valid vote to be allocated a seat; members serve 5-year terms); note - the House of Representatives was dissolved on 22 May 2021, but on 13 July, the Supreme Court directed its reinstatement

elections:
2022: National Assembly - last held on 26 January 2022 (next to be held in 2024)

2022: House of Representatives - last held on 20 November 2022 (next to be held in November 2027)
2017: House of Representatives held on 26 November and 7 December 2017

election results:
2022: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NCP 42, NC 13, FSFN 2, RJPN 2; composition - men 37, women 22, percent of women 37.3%
2022: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NC 89, NCP 78, CPN-MC 32, RSP 20, RPP 14, PSP-N 12, CPN (Unified Socialist) 10, Janamat Party 6, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party 4,
other 10; composition - NA
2017: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NCP 174, NC 63, RJPN 17, FSFN 16, vacant 4, independent 1; composition - men 180, women 91, percent of women 33.6%; note - total Federal Parliament percent of women 33.8%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and up to 20 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, a 5-member, high-level advisory body headed by the prime minister; other judges appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the Judicial Council, a 5-member advisory body headed by the chief justice; the chief justice serves a 6-year term; judges serve until age 65

subordinate courts: High Court; district courts

Political parties and leaders


Federal Socialist Forum, Nepal or FSFN [Upendra YADAV]
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) or CPN-UMC [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL]
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) [Madhav Kumar NEPAL]
Janamat Party [Chandra Kant RAUT]
Loktantrik Samajwadi Party [Mahantha THAKUR]
Naya Shakti Party, Nepal [Baburam BHATTARAI]
Nepal Communist Party or CPN-UML [Khadga Prasad OLI]
Nepali Congress or NC [Sher Bahadur DEUBA]
Nepal Mazdoor Kisan Party (Nepal Workers' and Peasants' Party) or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]
People's Socialist Party [Upendra YAKAV]
Rastriya Janamorcha (National People's Front) [Chitra Bahadur K.C.]
Rastriya Janata Party (National People's Party, Nepal) or RJPN [Mahanta THAKUR]
Rastriya Prajatantra Party (National Democratic Party) or RPP [Rajendra Prasad LINGDEN]
Rastriya Swatantra Party or RSP [Rabi LAMICHHANE]

International organization participation

ADB, BIMSTEC, CD, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNSOM, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Sridhar KHATRI (since 19 April 2022)

chancery: 2730 34th Place NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550

FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534

email address and website:
info@nepalembassyusa.org

https://us.nepalembassy.gov.np/

consulate(s) general: Chicago, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Randy BERRY (since 25 October 2018)

embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu

mailing address: 6190 Kathmandu Place, Washington DC  20521-6190

telephone: [977] (1) 423-4000

FAX: [977] (1) 400-7272

email address and website:
usembktm@state.gov

https://np.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

crimson 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 displays a white 12-pointed sun; the color red represents the rhododendron (Nepal's national flower) and is a sign of victory and bravery, the blue border signifies peace and harmony; the two right triangles are a combination of two single pennons (pennants) that originally symbolized the Himalaya Mountains while their charges represented the families of the king (upper) and the prime minister, but today they are understood to denote Hinduism and Buddhism, the country's two main religions; the moon represents the serenity of the Nepalese people and the shade and cool weather in the Himalayas, while the sun depicts the heat and higher temperatures of the lower parts of Nepal; the moon and the sun are also said to express the hope that the nation will endure as long as these heavenly bodies

note: Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square

National symbol(s)

rhododendron blossom; national color: red

National anthem

name: "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka" (Hundreds of Flowers)

lyrics/music: Pradeep Kumar RAI/Ambar GURUNG

note: adopted 2007; after the abolition of the monarchy in 2006, a new anthem was required because of the previous anthem's praise for the king

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (2 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Kathmandu Valley (c); Sagarmatha National Park (n); Chitwan National Park (n); Lumbini, Buddha Birthplace (c)

Economy

Economic overview

low-income South Asian economy; post-conflict fiscal federalism increasing stability; COVID-19 hurt trade and tourism; widening current account deficits; environmentally fragile economy from earthquakes; growing Chinese relations and investments

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$115.093 billion (2021 est.)

$110.404 billion (2020 est.)

$113.083 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 86

Real GDP growth rate

4.25% (2021 est.)

-2.37% (2020 est.)

6.66% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

Real GDP per capita

$3,800 (2021 est.)

$3,800 (2020 est.)

$3,900 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 186

GDP (official exchange rate)

$24.88 billion (2017 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

4.09% (2021 est.)

5.05% (2020 est.)

5.57% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 27% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.5% (2017 est.)

services: 59.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 78% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.7% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 33.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 8.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 9.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -42% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, vegetables, sugar cane, potatoes, maize, wheat, buffalo milk, milk, fruit, mangoes/guavas

Industries

tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Labor force

16.884 million (2021 est.)

note: severe lack of skilled labor

country comparison to the world: 38

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 69%

industry: 12%

services: 19% (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.05% (2021 est.)

4.72% (2020 est.)

3.1% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 79

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.2%

highest 10%: 29.5% (2011)

Remittances

22.61% of GDP (2021 est.)

24.25% of GDP (2020 est.)

24.12% of GDP (2019 est.)

Budget

revenues: $5.925 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: $5.945 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

39.05% of GDP (2020 est.)

31.78% of GDP (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 139

Fiscal year

16 July - 15 July

Current account balance

-$5.363 billion (2021 est.)

-$84.137 million (2020 est.)

-$1.754 billion (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 190

Exports

$2.52 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$1.771 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2.726 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 151

Exports - partners

India 68%, United States 10% (2019)

Exports - commodities

palm oil, clothing and apparel, carpets, soybean oil, flavored water (2019)

Imports

$16.993 billion (2021 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$10.694 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$13.836 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 96

Imports - partners

India 70%, China 15% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, iron, broadcasting equipment, natural gas, rice (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$9.661 billion (31 December 2021 est.)

$11.468 billion (31 December 2020 est.)

$8.713 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 81

Debt - external

$5.849 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$4.321 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 128

Exchange rates

Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar -

118.134 (2021 est.)

118.345 (2020 est.)

112.609 (2019 est.)

108.93 (2018 est.)

104.512 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 93% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 94% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 93% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 1.392 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 4.676 billion kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 107 million kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 1.729 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.183 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 97.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 28,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 839,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 811,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 1 million metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 49,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

7.708 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 1.051 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 6.657 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 120

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 726,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 38.213 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: in relation to its telecom sector, Nepal has several topographical and economic constraints which have impeded efforts to expand network infrastructure and improve the quality of service for end-users; the fixed line market remains underdeveloped, and as a result most traffic is channeled via mobile networks; fixed broadband penetration remains very low, though to address this the government has initiated several programs as part of the Digital Nepal Framework and the wider Optical Fiber Backbone Network Expansion Project, started in 2012; supported by the Rural Telecommunications Development Fund, the programs include building out fiber backbone infrastructure and using this to provide broadband to schools and community centers nationally; telcos have also invested in fiber networks, and competition in the market is intensifying; cheap fiber-based services launched in mid-2021 prompted responses from other ISPs to provide faster and more competitively priced offers; Nepal’s mobile market is relatively developed, with a focus on LTE; in 2021, the regulator considered a range of spectrum bands which could be used for 5G (2021)

domestic: fixed-line less than 2 per 100 persons and mobile-cellular nearly 131 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 977; Nepal, China and Tibet connected across borders with underground and all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fiber-optic cables; radiotelephone communications; microwave and fiber landlines to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

state operates 3 TV stations, as well as national and regional radio stations; 117 television channels are licensed, among those 71 are cable television channels, three are distributed through Direct-To-Home (DTH) system, and four are digital terrestrial; 736 FM radio stations are licensed and at least 314 of those radio stations are community radio stations (2019)

Internet users

total: 11,071,987 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 38% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1.27 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 39

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 3,296,953 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 4.66 million (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 11

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 36

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 29 (2021)

Railways

total: 59 km (2018)

narrow gauge: 59 km (2018) 0.762-m gauge

country comparison to the world: 131

Roadways

total: 27,990 km (2016)

paved: 11,890 km (2016)

unpaved: 16,100 km (2016)

country comparison to the world: 99

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Ministry of Defense: Nepali Army (includes Air Wing); Ministry of Home Affairs: Nepal Police, Nepal Armed Police Force (2022)

note: the Nepal Police are responsible for enforcing law and order across the country; the Armed Police Force is responsible for combating terrorism, providing security during riots and public disturbances, assisting in natural disasters, and protecting vital infrastructure, public officials, and the borders; it also conducts counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations and would assist the Army in the event of an external invasion

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2021 est.)

1.3% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.1% of GDP (2019) (approximately $1.1 billion)

2.3% of GDP (2018) (approximately $1.11 billion)

2.6% of GDP (2017) (approximately $1.12 billion)

country comparison to the world: 109

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 95,000 active troops (including a small air wing of about 500 personnel) (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Army's inventory includes a mix of mostly older equipment largely of British, Chinese, Indian, Russian, and South African origin; in recent years, Nepal has received limited amounts of newer hardware from several countries, including China, Italy, and Russia (2022)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2022)

note: as of 2020, women comprised about 5% of the active duty military

Military deployments

790 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 1,150 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 400 Golan Heights (UNDOF); 870 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 235 Liberia (UNSMIL); 175 Mali (MINUSMA); 1,750 (plus about 220 police) South Sudan (UNMISS) (May 2022)

Military - note

Nepal became a member of the UN in 1955 and has been an active participant in UN peacekeeping operations since, sending its first military observers to a UN peacekeeping mission in 1958 and its first peacekeeping military contingent to Egypt in 1974

the British began to recruit Nepalese citizens (Gurkhas) into the East India Company Army during the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816); the Gurkhas subsequently were brought into the British Indian Army and by 1914, there were 10 Gurkha regiments, collectively known as the Gurkha Brigade; following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India, and Great Britain allowed for the transfer of the 10 regiments from the British Indian Army to the separate British and Indian armies; four regiments were transferred to the British Army, where they have since served continuously as the Brigade of Gurkhas; six Gurkha (aka Gorkha in India) regiments went to the new Indian Army; a seventh regiment was later added; Gurkhas are also recruited into the Singaporean Police and a special guard in the Sultanate of Brunei known as the Gurkha Reserve Unit (2022)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Indian Mujahedeen

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Nepal-China: China may have constructed 11 buildings in Nepal’s Humla region in 2021

Nepal-India: joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 sq km dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; the Kalapani issue resurfaced in November 2019 when India issued a new map showing the contested area within India’s borders and then built a new road in the region through Lipulekh pass, an area controlled by India but claimed by Nepal; Nepal countered by amending its constitution and issuing its own map showing the disputed area within its borders; the countries prime ministers briefly discussed the border dispute in April 2022; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of illegal cross-border activities

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 12,540 (Tibet/China), 6,365 (Bhutan) (mid-year 2022)

stateless persons: undetermined (mid-year 2021)

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