14 January 2020, Lalitpur
Unleashing The Vajra, a book by Sujeev Shakya, published by Penguin Random House, India, was launched today. The Nepal launch of the book featured a panel discussion and remarks by the author. The panel discussed the key themes around the book and shared their personal reflections on potential Nepal has for young people and the need to recalibrate the discourse from problems to opportunities and potential. The panel comprised of Diva Shrestha, Director of Nepal Leadership Academy, Shabda Gyawali, Investment Director of Dolma Impact Fund, Shrinkhala Khatiwada, an architect and former Miss Nepal World 2018, Tejeshwi Nath Bhattarai – Economist. Paavan Mathema, Senior Correspondent in AFP moderated the panel.
Tejeswi Bhattarai marked the necessity of rebranding Nepal from a small and poor nation to an emerging country with a sizeable economy of USD 30 billion, a vibrant population of 30 million and with immense growth potential. Bhattarai also noted that moving further, creating an enabling environment to promote the inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) is crucial for the country as it is exposed to exogenous shock given its high dependence on imports and remittances. In addition, he mentioned that promoting FDI in sectors in addition to the infrastructure sector and in small and medium enterprises would help unleash a new dynamics of the private sector.
On promoting the inflow of FDI, Diva Shrestha also noted that it is essential to invest in human capital. Promoting capacity development programs in terms of visioning, behavioral change, and investing in individuals is imperative for breaking the vicious cycle of the limited pool of skilled talent essential to create an enabling environment for FDI.
Shabda Gyawali pointed out that to unleash the potential of the Nepali economy, reforms need to take place not only in the public sector but also in the private sector, especially in terms of corporate governance, accountability, transparency, and compliance. Shareholders’ activism within the organization in terms of having an independent board, successful planning, timely and proper disclosure, and financial statement, and grooming the next generation leaders could be mechanisms to ensure improved corporate governance.
Shrinkhala Khatiwada mentioned that to uplift the economy, the focus should shift to societal transformation. There has been an evident shift in terms of youth finding new ways of engaging in the economy – from job-seekers to job-creators, however, efforts have to be intensified in terms of increasing women’s contribution to the economy; women’s involvement should not be ceremonial and their contribution should be taken seriously.
Paavan Mathema closed the discussion by reiterating that to unleash the economic potential of the country it is essential to focus on societal transformation.
Sujeev Shakya, the author of the book, talked about his journey as an author since Unleashing Nepal - his first book that was released ten years ago. He noted that to realize the economic potential of being placed between two fast-growing economies, money and management skills alone are inadequate. Societal transformation is imperative to economic transformation.
In his book, Shakya argues that it is essential to understand the history and learn from it to shape events for a better future. He analyses the social, political and cultural aspects underlying the current state of Nepal to strategize the recalibrations required to capitalize on its location. Overall, the book outlines the factors that will determine Nepal's destiny in the years to come. Eminent thought leaders C Raja Mohan and Bruno Macaes have endorsed the book.
The India launch of the book will take place at the Jaipur Literary Festival on 25 January 2020 followed by other country launches. The book is available globally through different e-commerce platforms.