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US aid for Nepal hydro development

The US has agreed to provide a US$5M grant to Nepal to foster foreign investment in development of hydroelectric power in Nepal. Officials of the Nepalese Finance Ministry said the funds would be used to enhance the ability of its Electricity Development Centre to attract foreign investment in hydropower.

Nepal has a hydroelectric power potential of over 80 000MW from its snow-fed Himalayan rivers. There are chronic shortages of power in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which abut Nepal’s southern border. Electric power is seen as an exportable asset that can earn revenue for Nepal (whose current per capita gross domestic product is US$1000). US government sources said the grant could permit development of hydro projects worth US$400M within two years.