“A country on a war-footing”. That’s how Prime Minister Sushil Koirala described Nepal as his government struggles to help survivors after Saturday’s quake. The tragedy has cost thousands of lives, it has also devastated an already fragile economy.
Rebuilding it will top the 10 billion dollar mark and take years according to the country’s Finance Minister Ram S Mahat. It’s an estimate which is equivalent to about half of Nepal’s 20 billion dollar economy and that’s smaller than all 50 US states.
The GDP per capita of the nation of 27 million is 717 dollars. Nepal is considered among the poorest countries in the world, a quarter fall below the poverty line. Around 800,000 tourists visited the Himalayan Kingdom three years ago.
Tourism which makes up an estimated eight percent of the economy will take a huge hit now as the country struggles to recover. Unemployment already hovers around the 50 percent mark contributing to its status as one of the most impoverished countries. The World Bank says Nepal is also among the least developed in the world.
The economy centres on agriculture and provides a livelihood for more than 70 percent of the population. Industrial activity is mostly related to agricultural products.
“The government is doing all it can for rescue and relief,” said the prime minister. The mammoth task of rebuilding the economy awaits.