Ambassador Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal in Seoul said that his country has abundant water resources with large rivers and lakes which the government wants to develop as Nepal is a landlocked country.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post at his office at the Embassy of Nepal in Seoul, Ambassador Lama said that Nepal welcomes Korean companies to take part in various ambitious development projects, especially in the area of utilization of the water resources of Nepal, such as construction of hydro - electric power plants and fishing farming.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Since the opening of residential embassy in Seoul in 2007, the Embassy of Nepal has been consistently engaging in organizing meetings, interactions, seminars as well as promotional activities in different occasions to attract Korean investment on one hand and promotion of tourism and foreign employment for Nepal and Nepalese workers on the other.
The Embassy of Nepal has not left any opportunity available in Korea unturned to enhance the image of Nepal in any form be that of education, culture, trade, investment or tourism.
Promoting economic diplomacy abroad demands consistent approach, persuasion, interaction and promotional activities in general and investment friendly policy in particular. In order to realize the policy of the government in promoting economic diplomacy, the Embassy of Nepal, however with its limited resources, is doing its best in every front.
Its relentless efforts in promoting Nepal in Korea through its vigorous participation and engagement shall pay dividend only if Nepal can see the increment in Korean participation in development projects, trade and investment in industries. As promoting economic diplomacy is a long-term goal that requires enormous patience, homework and persuasion, creating convincing domestic business and investment environment also plays pivotal role in luring foreign investment.
With the increasing economic prosperity of Korea and its spread of influence in international arena in the multiple spheres including trade and investment, the abundance of savings and reserves is looking for better returns through diversifying its portfolio investment which Nepal can convince and capitalize on. The Embassy holds the view that instead of calling for Korean investment in various sectors, initially the Korean investment in harnessing water resources including hydro power and energy where both the countries have comparative advantage could serve the purpose and it could attract and lead further investment in other sectors. Therefore, the seminar is intended to focus primarily in water management such as hydro power development followed by other sectors like tourism, industries, agriculture and infrastructure.
Nepal’s abundance of natural resources has been untapped and unexplored. The mining sector is one of them. Since Korea hosts the biggest steel making factories, many of them including Hyundai Steel have shown their interest in extracting iron-ore of Nepal.
An apparent initiation and persuasion from our side could draw positive result in attracting investment from these mega conglomerates.
Korea is also home of Global Green Growth Initiatives and it has established recently a Green Growth Institute with the objective of promoting green economy globally. While being a research body, the institutes also promotes environmental projects. During some meetings with the officials of the institute, they have been pursuing us to forward proposal for environmental projects in Nepal. It seems that they have been concerned for protection of mountain ecology and biodiversity of Nepal which is vital for all humankind inhabited downstream of the rivers originated from the high mountains.
In this background, as a continuation and follow-up of the Embassy’s previous initiations in attracting Korean investment in Nepal, the Embassy is planning to hold an Investment Seminar in May 2014 as part of its annual programme of promoting economic diplomacy in Korea.
Since Nepal is celebrating 40th year of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between Nepal and the Republic of Korea on May 15, the Embassy of Nepal is also mulling over celebrating it with a reception in conjunction with the investment seminar. In diplomatic history between Nepal and Republic of Korea, the year 2014 is marked with special significance being the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship at the ambassadorial level. There have been visible changes in our relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relationship.
The levels of mutual cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral level have increased for our mutual benefit. With the colossal economic advancement and as a member of OECD, Korea is paying attention to the development of Nepal through its overseas assistance programme. Nepalese presence in Korea for different means has increased manifold.
The relationship between Nepal and Korea, not only at the government level but also at the people’s level, is moving forward encouragingly with satisfaction. This level of relationship could be further strengthened and enhanced if the frequency of high level visits and interaction at the official’s level is augmented. The Embassy of Nepal is expecting to welcome an official visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal to Korea during the seminar.