The UK Minister for International Development, Desmond Swayne TD MP, is currently in Nepal on a three-day visit. He arrived on Wednesday 18th February. This is his first visit to Nepal since his appointment in July 2014.
The focus of this visit is to see DFID’s bilateral programmes and how the UK, Nepal’s largest bilateral donor, is supporting efforts to combat poverty and promote economic growth. During his visit Minister Swayne met the Minister of Finance to discuss the future of UK development support to Nepal, including how to build on the more than £ (Pounds Sterling) 100 million committed by the UK for the financial year 2015/16.
As the UK and Nepal approach 200 years of friendship, Nepal’s longest-standing partner is looking at how to support Nepal in its efforts to graduate from LDC status by 2022. Achieving the necessary economic growth will require sustained efforts to speed up investment in infrastructure, as well as maximising Nepal’s human capital.
According to a press release issued by British Embassy, UK aid works to support Nepal’s efforts in a wide range of areas. DFID’s acclaimed Rural Access Programme brings roads to Nepal’s poorest and most vulnerable, regardless of gender, ethnicity or caste. A meeting with the Investment Board of Nepal discussed how development assistance could facilitate the private sector investment that is so important to unlocking Nepal’s hydropower potential.
The DFID Nepal Head, Dr. Gail Marzetti, said that the Minister was able to see some UK aid funded programmes in action around Kathmandu and during a short field visit to Kaski and Syangja districts. There the Minister saw at first-hand the skills programme that partner with the private sector to provide skills and employment opportunities, particularly for women and young people. Empowering all Nepalese to achieve their potential is a crucial contribution to economic growth.
Swayne visited rural water and sanitation projects in Syangja that the UK has funded through the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, the Health Post at Pumdhi Bhumdhi to observe how services are delivered and met with female community health volunteers. He also visited a community near Pokhara to see a DFID funded Disaster Risk Reduction programme. These projects reflect the UK’s continued commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals that deliver for the poor globally and in Nepal.
Desmond Swayne TD MP was appointed as Minister of State for International Development on 15 July 2014. The Minister of State was previously a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury and is the former Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. He is the Member of Parliament for the constituency of New Forest West, in Hampshire.