Nepal

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 30, 2011
Flag of Nepal
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Nepal
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Map of Nepal
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OF NEPAL
 

Introduction

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In 1951, the Nepali monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing ten-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nation-wide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The Constituent Assembly elected the country's first president in July. The Maoists, who received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, formed a coalition government in August 2008, but resigned in May 2009 after the president overruled a decision to fire the chief of the army staff. The Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist and the Nepali Congress party then formed a new coalition government with several smaller parties. The prime minister's resignation in June 2010 ushered in seven months of political gridlock until Jhala Nath KHANAL was elected as replacement in February 2011. His pressing tasks are to conclude the drafting of a new constitution by the late May 2011 deadline and to determine the future of the former Maoist combatants.
 
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Geography

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Southern Asia, between China and India
 
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28 00 N, 84 00 E
 
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total: 147,181 sq km
country comparison to the world: 94
land: 143,351 sq km
water: 3,830 sq km
 
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slightly larger than Arkansas
 
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total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
 
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0 km (landlocked)
 
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none (landlocked)
 
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varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
 
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Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
 
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lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
 
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quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
 
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arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)
 
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11,680 sq km (2008)
 
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210.2 cu km (1999)
 
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total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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severe thunderstorms; flooding; landslides; drought and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
 
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deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
 
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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 - on the borders with China and India respectively
 
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People and Society

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noun: Nepali (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepali
 
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Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
 
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Nepali (official) 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)
 
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Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
 
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29,391,883 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
 
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0-14 years: 34.6% (male 5,177,264/female 4,983,864)
15-64 years: 61.1% (male 8,607,338/female 9,344,537)
65 years and over: 4.4% (male 597,628/female 681,252) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 21.6 years
male: 20.7 years
female: 22.5 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.596% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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22.17 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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6.81 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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0.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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urban population: 19% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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KATHMANDU (capital) 990,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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380 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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total: 44.54 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 55
male: 44.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 44.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 66.16 years
country comparison to the world: 164
male: 64.94 years
female: 67.44 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.47 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86
 
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5.8% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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0.21 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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5 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 39
 
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improved:
urban: 93% of population
rural: 87% of population
total: 88% of population
unimproved:
urban: 7% of population
rural: 13% of population
total: 12% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 51% of population
rural: 27% of population
total: 31% of population
unimproved:
urban: 49% of population
rural: 73% of population
total: 69% of population (2008)
 
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0.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
 
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64,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
 
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4,700 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: Japanese encephalitis, malaria, and dengue fever (2009)
 
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38.8% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 7
 
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4.6% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)
 
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total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2003)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
local short form: Nepal
 
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federal democratic republic
 
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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)
 
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14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
 
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1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
 
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Republic Day, 29 May; Democracy Day, 24 April
 
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15 January 2007 (interim Constitution); note - in April 2008, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 2010; the fourth and final deadline extended to May 2012
 
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English common law and Hindu legal concepts
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (since 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (since 23 July 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Baburam BHATTARAI (since 29 August 2011); Deputy Prime Ministers Bijay Kumar GACHCHADAR (since 29 August 2011) and Narayan Kaji SHRESTHA
cabinet: cabinet was formed in May 2009 by a majority coalition made up of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist, Nepali Congress, Madhesi People's Rights Forum, Nepal-Democratic, and several smaller parties
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by Parliament; term extends until the new constitution is promulgated; election last held on 21 July 2008; date of next election NA
election results: Ram Baran YADAV elected president by the Constituent Assembly in a second round of voting on 21 July 2008; Ram Baran YADAV 308, Ram Jaja Prasad SINGH 282
 
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unicameral Constituent Assembly (601 seats; 240 members elected by direct popular vote, 335 by proportional representation, and 26 appointed by the Cabinet (Council of Ministers))
elections: last held on 10 April 2008 (next to be held NA)
election results: percent of vote by party - CPN-M 38%, NC 19%, CPN-UML 18%,Madhesi People's Right Forum 9%, other 11%; seats by party - CPN-M 229, NC 115, CPN-UML 108, Madhesi People's Rights Forum 54, Terai Madhes Democratic Party 21, other smaller parties 74; note - 26 seats filled by the new Cabinet are included in the totals above
 
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Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (the president appoints the chief justice on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the chief justice appoints other judges on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)
 
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Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekata Party [Keshav Prasad MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (inactive); Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist Leninist or CPN-ML [C.P. MAINALI]; Communist Party of Nepal-Unified [Raj Singh SHRIS]; Communist Party of Nepal-United [Chandra Dev JOSHI]; Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist or CPN-UML [Jhalanath KHANAL]; Dalit Janajati Party [Vishwendraman PASHWAN]; Federal Democratic National Forum; Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic [Bijay Kumar GACHHADAR]; Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Nepal [Upendra YADAV]; Nepal Loktantrik Samajbadi Dal [Upendra GACHCHHADAR]; Nepal Pariwar Dal [Eknath DHAKAL]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party-Anandi Devi [Sarita GIRI]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress or NC [Sushil KOIRALA]; Nepali Janata Dal [Harish Chandra SHA]; Newa Rastriya Party [Keshav Man SHAKYA]; Rastriya Janamorcha [Chitra Bahadur K.C.]; Rastriya Janamukti Party [Malwar Singh THAPA]; Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA]; Rastriya Prajantantra Party [Pashupati Shumsher RANA]; Rastriya Prajantantra Party Nepal [Kamal THAPA]; Sadbhavana Party [Rajendra MAHATO]; Samajbadi Prajatantrik Janata Party Nepal [Prem Bahadur SINGH]; Terai Madhes Democratic Party [Mahantha THAKUR]; Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA]
 
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other: several small armed Madhesi groups along the southern border with India; a variety of groups advocating regional autonomy for individual ethnic groups
 
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ADB, BIMSTEC, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, SAARC, SACEP, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Shankar Prasad SHARMA
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general: New York
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Scott H. DELISI
embassy: Maharajgunj, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 400-7200
FAX: [977] (1) 400-7272
 
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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
 
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rhododendron blossom
 
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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
 
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Economy

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Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with almost one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for about one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of feasible capacity, but political instability hampers foreign investment. Additional challenges to Nepal's growth include its landlocked geographic location, civil strife and labor unrest, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
 
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$35.81 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
$34.25 billion (2009 est.)
$32.66 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$15.84 billion (2010 est.)
 
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4.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
4.9% (2009 est.)
6.1% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,200 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
$1,200 (2009 est.)
$1,200 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 32.8%
industry: 14.4%
services: 52.8% (2010 est.)
 
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18 million
country comparison to the world: 32
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2009 est.)
 
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agriculture: 75%
industry: 7%
services: 18% (2010 est.)
 
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46% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
42% (2004 est.)
 
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24.7% (2008)
 
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lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: 40.6% (2008)
 
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47.2 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 30
36.7 (1996)
 
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3.5% of GDP (2020 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
 
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revenues: $3 billion
expenditures: $4.6 billion (FY10)
 
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18.9% of GDP (FY10)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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-10.1% of GDP (FY10)
country comparison to the world: 196
 
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10% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
11.6% (2009 est.)
 
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6% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
6.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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8% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
8% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$3.175 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$2.587 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$10.34 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
$8.508 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$8.069 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
$6.695 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$4.843 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
$5.485 billion (31 December 2009)
$4.894 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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pulses, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
 
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tourism, carpets, textiles; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
 
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1.8% (FY08)
country comparison to the world: 136
 
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2.6 billion kWh (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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2.525 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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0 kWh (2010 est.)
 
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70 million kWh (2008 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
 
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20,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
 
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13,740 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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-$449 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 108
-$227.4 million (2009)
 
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$901.9 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 155
$837.4 million (2008)
 
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clothing, pulses, carpets, textiles, juice, pashima, jute goods
 
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India 61.7%, US 7.5%, Germany 4.6%, Bangladesh 4.1% (2010)
 
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$5.016 billion (2009)
country comparison to the world: 113
$4.266 billion (2009 est.)
 
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petroleum products, machinery and equipment, gold, electrical goods, medicine
 
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India 56.2%, China 22.5% (2010)
 
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$4.5 billion (2009)
country comparison to the world: 117
$3.285 billion (2008)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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Nepalese rupees (NPR) per US dollar -
72.56 (2010)
77.44 (2009)
65.21 (2008)
70.35 (2007)
72.446 (2006)
 
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Communications

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841,700 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 87
 
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9.196 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 74
 
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general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile-cellular telephone network
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular telephone service subscribership base only about 30 per 100 persons
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2008)
 
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state operates 2 television stations as well as national and regional radio stations; more than 60 independent radio stations and a small number of independent television stations (2007)
 
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.np
 
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43,928 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 91
 
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577,800 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 116
 
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Transportation

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47 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 93
 
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total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 36
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 31 (2010)
 
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total: 59 km
country comparison to the world: 130
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 17,282 km
country comparison to the world: 118
paved: 10,142 km
unpaved: 7,140 km (2007)
 
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Military

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Nepal Army (2010)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; 15 years of age for military training; no conscription (2011)
 
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males age 16-49: 6,941,152
females age 16-49: 7,618,397 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 5,260,878
females age 16-49: 5,947,512 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 380,172
female: 367,103 (2010 est.)
 
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1.6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 92
 
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Transnational Issues

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joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990
 
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refugees (country of origin): 107,803 (Bhutan); 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 50,000-70,000 (remaining from ten-year Maoist insurgency that officially ended in 2006; displacement spread across the country) (2007)
 
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illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West
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