Samantha Power’s suggestion: It’s inappropriate to bring geopolitics into US assistance to Nepal

The USAID administrator particularly stressed on democracy and democratic development for Nepal and expressed commitment to help Nepal achieve its development goals and attain middle income status by 2030.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The USAID Administrator Samantha Power has said that it would be inappropriate to look into the US assistance to Nepal from the geopolitical lens. Addressing the press conference after wrapping up her two-day’s Nepal visit in Kathmandu on Wednesday, Power said that the investment by the United States in Nepal is not the product of any geopolitical dynamics but the commitment to welfare of Nepali people. “The investment by the United States in Nepal is not the product of any geopolitical dynamics. It is the product of the United States’ commitment to the welfare of the people of this country,” she said.

She was of the view that the notion that US support to Nepal is guided by geopolitical consideration is the product of misinformation and the elements that try to polarize and divide people.

During the press conference, Samantha Power said that democracy and democratic development is absolutely critical for economic development. “This is critical for Nepal as it continues to progress away from least developed countries to achieve middle income status,” she said. “Democracy is a difficult and messy process at times but it is the means of government that gives people the chance to hold leaders accountable when the citizens of the country believe that those leaders have not delivered.”

On the occasion, Administrator Power also shared that the United States has extended an invitation to Nepal Prime Minister to participate in the Summit for Democracy that will take place next month. “Invitation I believe has been extended. This Summit will be held largely virtually. That will give the prime  minister the opportunity as well to take stock of the reforms and implementation of the commitments that were made at the last summit.” 

According to her, she conveyed her commitment to Prime Minister Dahal and Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel to help Nepal  achieve its development goals. “ I conveyed to PM Dahal as well as the Finance Minister how committed USAID is to help Nepal achieve its development goals  and attain middle income status by 2030,” said Power.

Power spoke of Prime Minister Dahal in an appreciative tone and said that Nepali PM is committed to further strengthening Nepal’s democracy by completing the peace process. “He takes very special pride in how much Nepali people have overcome in strengthening the peace since the civil war came to an end. Making peace always looks easy in retrospect but it’s very hard if you are involved in the process,” she said. 

According to her, during her conversation the PM talked about the importance of continuing to strengthen federalism. 

On Tuesday Samantha Power had announced up to $58.5 million to advance democratic progress in Nepal, subject to the availability of funds. Of this, up to $20 million would be provided to strengthen inclusive democracy and prosperity in Nepal by supporting provincial and local governments to deliver public services in a more fiscally transparent and accountable manner and up to $18.5 million to support civil society organizations and independent media.

[Related: USAID deepens democratic partnership with the government and people of Nepal]