More Chinese investments in Nepal is very much welcome because this will help us become self-sustained and independent.
By Prithvi Man Shrestha
The Chinese private sector is looking at Nepal as an investment destination. This was the message Chinese businessmen tried to convey in the 11th meeting of Nepal-China Non-Government Cooperation Forum in Kathmandu on Thursday (16 Sept). With China’s financial muscle getting stronger, Nepal’s hydropower, tourism and agriculture sectors are on its investment radar. Their seriousness can be gauged by the fact that a high-level 40-member team came to Nepal to attend the forum. And most of them, according to Chinese ambassador to Nepal Qiu Guohong, are from reputed companies.
The business delegation led by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) first vice-chairman Quan Zhezhu, who is also a vice-minister, had entrepreneurs from established and renowned Chinese private companies in the areas of tourism, aviation, metallurgy, real estate, medicines and mechanical engineering. Addressing the inauguration session, Qiu set the tone by saying that the power shortage in Nepal is an important opportunity for Chinese companies to be involved in hydropower development in Nepal.
China’s interest on hydropower development was evident from the fact that the businesspersons told their Nepali counterparts that they wanted to invest in hydro projects ranging from 10 MW to 500 MW.
“This will pave the way for even the district-based small Nepali entrepreneurs to invest in a joint venture with the Chinese,” said Kush Kumar Joshi, president of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). The Chinese side also said they discussed hydropower, tourism and agriculture, among others, and expressed willingness to bring in investment in Nepal. “We will bring reputed Chinese companies here to explore the new investment avenues in Nepal,” said ACFIC first vice-chairman Quan. (Continued after the box)
Sept 14: A 47-member team of Chinese entrepreneurs, hydropower experts and power developers arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday (Sept 14) to attend a high-level conclave organised by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal will inaugurate the three-day “brainstorming session,” which Nepal’s top bureaucrats, policy makers and entrepreneurs will attend. “Investment in Hydropower” will be the 11th initiative in the Nepal-China non-Governmental Cooperation series started in 1996 during the visit of then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to China. Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission Dr Jagadish Chandra Pokhrel, Foreign Secretary Madan Kumar Bhattarai, Energy Secretary Shanker Koirala and entrepreneurs from the Nepali hydro power sector will participate in the conclave. Nepal and India had orgainsed such a conclave for two consecutive years after Jana Andolan II in 2006, with Nepal Electricity Authority and Power Trading Corporation of India as the lead agencies.
During the three-day segment, entrepreneurs and experts from both sides will give their perspectives on Nepal’s policy and investment opportunities on hydropower, and more importantly, how China can help the hydro power sector in Nepal. Quan Zhezhu, vice-minister of the United Front Work of CPC Central Committee (UFW) and party secretary of All China Federation of Industries and Commerce (AFIC) will lead the Chinese delegation. epresentatives from Snap Power Company, Sino Hydro and Dtang Company are interested in investing in the hydro sector in Nepal, said a government official. Kumin and Xian provinces that have extensive experience in developing hydropower and grid extension are also in the Chinese delegation.
“China wants to engage its state owned companies in Nepal’s hydro power sector, utilizing its huge foreign currency reserve. This is a clear indication that China wants to extend its quick growth to Nepal to tap our hydro power potential,” a senior Foreign Ministry Official said. Export and Import Bank of China (EXIM), Gezhouba Company, the builder of Three Gorges Dam are also interested in investing in Nepal, said sources.
Currently, Sunkoshi (10MW) hydro project has been completed with Chinese grant assistance, while the northern neighbour has offered a soft loan for the Trishuli-3A (61MW) project. Chinese aid for Nalsyaugad (400MW) is under consideration, according to the Ministry of Energy. Continue reading China’s Political and Economic missions in Nepal: Investment- Yes, Interference- No.