NEPAL – ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
The South Asian landlocked country of Nepal has been a republic since 2008, after the monarchy was abolished after 10 years of civil war (1996-2006). Only since 2015 the country has an official constitution, which is however controversial, because it disadvantages some ethnic minorities. Nepal is considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world – the majority of its almost 30 million citizens live on less than US$ 2 on income per day, which is well below the poverty line.
The prevailing religion is Hinduism with about 80 per cent of the population, another 9 per cent are Buddhists, about 4 per cent Muslims and about 1.4 per cent Chistians. In the north, the country borders to China – in the east, south and west to India. There is a huge economic dependency on India, which got Nepal at the limits of its capacity during the supply crisis of 2015 and 2016. The export of fuels and other goods which had been stopped by India caused that almost the entire industry as well as large parts of the transport industry are bankrupt.
There are more than 100 different ethnic groups and castes in the country and more than 124 languages and dialects. This cultural diversity also causes tensions among the population and leads to riots.
The capital city Kathmandu with its approximately 1,000,000 million citizens is mainly the political and cultural centre of the country. It is the largest city in Nepal and attracts many poor people from the villages of the country, because the people hope for better job opportunities. Here as well as in the rest of the country, tourism is one of the most important sources of income. There are time-honoured temples and breath-taking trekking routes. After the devastating earthquake in spring 2015 with approximately 9,000 fatalities, the tourism broke down, which worsened the supply situation and made the reconstruction of the country even more difficult.