U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met the foreign minister of Nepal, Narayan Prakash Saud, to discuss the U.S. investments in Nepal, including loans to the Nepalese banks and the $500 million that we will know about in a while. In a tweet posted via his official account on the social media platform X, Blinken shared the news of the meet with the world. He also expressed his condolences for the Nepalese students killed in Hamas’s attack on Israel.
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The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas that began on October 7 is only worsening. Now, before the start of the meeting, Blinken acknowledged the long-time mutual partnership. Stating further, he said that the U.S. is glad to have this ‘valued’ partner in the Indo-Pacific to facilitate an open and free region there. Blinken said that the U.S. appreciates Nepal, a leading country ‘globally’ that is productive in international organizations. Meanwhile, Prakash Saud asserted the U.S. is Nepal’s “development partner”.
U.S. Spokesperson’s Statement
The U.S. Department of the State Spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated the view. The office of the spokesperson released a statement on the cause of this joint meeting between the two countries in Washington. Blinken and his counterpart spotlighted the strength of the mutual friendship and talked about the newly launched $500 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact. It will construct infrastructure, heighten the electricity access, and propagate cross-border power trade.
Both the parties ‘praised’ the 60-plus-year partnership on Peace Corps Volunteers’ Service in Nepal. These volunteers work at the grassroots level with the local communities on the crucially prescribed projects in the fields of agriculture and education. The level of this work requires the volunteers to be fluent in the Nepali language. Miller also emphasized the ‘discussed’ Development Finance Corporation investment in Nepal. It involves the latest $125 million loan to the banks in Nepal to aid small and mid-size undertakings in Nepal.
The Financial Partnership: Scope
The expansion of the development finance corporation investment in Nepal was the prime focus of this meeting. To know more about the DFIs and its history in Nepal, take a glance here. Earlier in January, the U.S. announced to invest over $1 billion in Nepal spanning over 5 years. The key areas of interests here will be
- Green energy
- Businesses powered by women
- Electrification of the country
- MSMEs, SMEs, and
- Other sectors.
Coming to the Millennium Challenge corporation, it has a long history of controversies lined up before getting approval by the parliament of Nepal. With the rising discontent for the proposal in the past few years to finally accepting the aid recently, Nepal has come a long way.
What is MCC?
The U.S. legislation passed the MCC in 2004 to give “independent” foreign help beyond the purview of USAID, state departments, and territory. It partners with the poor countries that in its view stand out for their governance. This event allows the targeted countries to propagate economic growth and aid the common people to come out from the state of poverty.
MCC plans to dispense funds from the ‘U.S. foreign policy’ within and without the scrutiny of the Nepali Parliament. It ignited the controversial flames of the ‘U.S. interference’ in Nepal wherein a few leaders were not likely to receive it with open arms. The Millennium Challenge Corporation compact with Nepal eyes to preserve road quality, boosts the availability and dependence of electricity and opens a cross-border electricity trade between India and Nepal.