Nepal is among the poor and the least developed countries in the world. It has nearly half of its population living below the poverty line.

Agriculture is the most important in the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 41% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural product such as jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. In the past three years, Production of textiles and carpets has expanded and accounted for about 80% of foreign exchange earnings . 

Nepal formally adopted a multi-party parliamentary system of Government  in 1990. Legal administration is in the hands of an independent judicial system. The government has been moving forward with economic reforms, particularly those that encourage trade and foreign investment by reducing business licenses and registration requirements . The government has also been reducing subsidies, privatizing state industries, and laying off civil servants to cut expenditures. However, recently political instability has hampered governments' ability to forge consensus to implement important economic reforms. Nepal can increase economic growth by exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Nevertheless, prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, and its susceptibility to natural disaster. The international community's role of funding more than 60% of Nepal's development budget and more than 28% of total budgetary expenditures will likely continue as a major source of growth. 

Purchasing power parity  $27.4 billion (1999 est.) 
Real growth rate:  3.4% (1999 est.) 
Per capita: purchasing power parity  $1,100 (1999 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
Agriculture:  41% 
Industry: 22% 
Services:  37% 

Population below poverty line: 42% (1995-96 est.) 

Household income or consumption by percentage share: (1995-96) 
Lowest 10% 3.2%  
Middle 80% 67.0 % 
Highest 10%:   29.8%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 11.8% (FY98/99 est.) 

Labor force: 10 million (1996 est.) 
note: severe lack of skilled labor 

Labor force (by occupation) 
Agriculture:  81% 
Industry: 3% 
Services:  16% 

revenues: $536 million 
expenditures: $818 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97 est.) 

Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production 

Industrial production growth rate: NA% 

Electricity - production by source: 
Fossil fuel 5.13% 
hydro:  94.87% 
nuclear /other  0% 


Production 1.17 billion kWh (1998) 
Consumption 1.212 billion kWh (1998) 
Exports 72 million kWh (1998) 
Imports 196 million kWh (1998) 
Bars are not in the scale.

Agriculture products (Major): 
rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat 

Exports: $485 million (f.o.b., 1998), but does not include unrecorded border trade with India 

Exports - commodities: 
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain 
Exports partners(FY97/98) 
India  33% 
US 26% 
Germany  25% 

Imports: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 1998) 

Imports - commodities: 
gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer 

Imports - partners: (FY97/98)
India   31% 
China/Hong Kong  16%
Singapore   14%  

Debt - external: $2.4 billion (1997) 

Economic aid - recipient: $411 million (FY97/98) 

Currency: 1 Nepalese rupee (NR) = 100 paisa 

Exchange rates: 
Nepalese rupees (NRs) per US$1 - 68.784 (January 2000), 68.253 (1999), 65.976 (1998), 58.010 (1997), 56.692 (1996), 51.890 (1995) 

Fiscal year: 16 July - 15 July 

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