Facts about Nepal

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Nepal - Mount EverestIn 1951, the Nepalese 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 nine-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. The newly formed interim parliament declared Nepal a democratic federal republic at its first meeting in May 2008, the king vacated the throne in mid-June 2008, and parliament elected the country's first president the following month.

Geography of Nepal

Southern Asia, between China and India
28 00 N, 84 00 E
total: 140,800 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
land: 136,800 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries:
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
0 km (landlocked)
varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999)
Natural resources:
quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Natural hazards:
severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment current issues:
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
Geography - note:
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with China

Population of Nepal

29,519,114 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 38.7% (male 5,648,959/female 5,291,447)
15-64 years: 57.6% (male 8,365,526/female 7,925,941)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 513,777/female 541,497)
Median age:
20.3 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
65.32 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.18 years
male: 60.43 years
female: 59.91 years
Fertility rate:
4.1 children born/woman
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
Ethnic groups:
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%
Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% 
note: only official Hindu state in the world
Nepali 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%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9%


Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Nepal
Government type:
parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Administrative divisions:
14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)
National holiday:
Birthday of King GYANENDRA, 7 July (1946)
9 November 1990
Legal system:
based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (as of 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (as of 23 July 2008)
head of government: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal DAHAL (as of 18 August 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev GAUTAM
cabinet: selected by the prime minister
elections: president elected by Parliament
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the National Council (60 seats; 35 appointed by the House of Representatives, 10 by the king, and 15 elected by an electoral college; one-third of the members elected every two years to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (205 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)


Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third 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 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns relating to the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.

$29.29 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 38%
industry: 21%
services: 41%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
10.4 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18%
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 8.5%
hydro: 91.5%
other: 0%
tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production
rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Export partners:
India 54.4%, US 16.8%, Germany 7% 
gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Import partners:
India 48.4%, China 10.7%, UAE 10.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.5% 
Nepalese rupee (NPR)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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