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Home » Resources » Country Profile » Nepal


NEPAL

With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, the landlocked Kingdom of Nepal has for many years been the destination of choice for foreign travellers in search of adventure.
Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world, a situation made worse by an ongoing Maoist rebellion

OVERVIEW:


Nepal has been under the sway of an hereditary monarchy or ruling family for most of its known history, largely isolated from the rest of the world.
A brief experiment with multi-party politics in 1959 ended with King Mahendra suspending parliament and taking sole charge.
Democratic politics was introduced in 1991 after popular protests, but it has been extremely factionalised with frequent changes of government. The current monarch has twice assumed executive powers - in 2002 and 2005.
Maoist rebels have been waging a campaign against the constitutional monarchy in a conflict that has left more than 11,000 people dead since it started in 1996. The UN says the rebellion has displaced more than 100,000 people.
Nepal has been at odds with neighbouring Bhutan over the repatriation of thousands of refugees living in camps in Nepal. The refugees - Bhutanese of Nepalese descent - fled violence in their homeland in the early 1990s.
With the world's highest mountain, Everest, and spectacular scenery and wildlife, the country is a potentially popular tourist destination.
It also boasts a distinctive Hindu and Buddhist culture. But it faces environmental challenges including deforestation, encroachment on animal habitats and vehicle pollution in the capital, Kathmandu.
Most of the population depend on agriculture - and around 40% are estimated to live in poverty.
Foreign aid remains vital to sustaining the Nepalese economy, and the country is also dependent on trade with neighbouring India.

FACTS:

Population: 26.3 million (UN, 2005)
Capital: Kathmandu
Area: 147,181 sq km (56,827 sq miles)
Major language: Nepali
Major religions: Hinduism (official), Buddhism
Life expectancy: 60 years (men), 60 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Nepalese rupee = 100 paisa
Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
GNI per capita: US $240 (World Bank, 2003)
Internet domain: .np
International dialling code: +977



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