KATHMANDU: Nepal is among a dozen countries in Asia and Africa, from where Canada will gradually be withdrawing its development assistance missions by 2014, government sources said.
The sources said the Canadian government has informally conveyed its inability to continue support to Nepal — to the Nepali Embassy in Ottawa, Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). With the move, Nepal is likely to lose at least five million Canadian dollars (Rs 43 crores) in bilateral assistance from Canada every year.
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has been working with focus on infrastructural development, empowerment, forestry, and health and education sectors since 1970.
“CIDA recently removed Nepal, along with China, Pakistan and Afghanistan from its list for the Asia region. It has informed us that it will not start any new project in Nepal and will wrap up all ongoing projects by 2014,” said a senior officer at the ministry. Though Canada is learnt to have said its own financial constraints were the reason behind the decision, Ottawa’s assessment of low aid effectiveness in Nepal was a major factor at play, said another official at the foreign ministry. CIDA, on its website, says Nepal ranks 157th in the UN Human Development Index, despite rigorous efforts by international aid agencies to uplift the country’s status.
The officer said Canada, however, will continue its support and assistance to Nepal through multinational and multilateral channels such as the World Bank, World Health Organisation and the UN system. Through these channels, Canada has been providing five million dollars to Nepal every year.
Arjun Bahadur Thapa, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said the government had also heard and read about the matter. He denied that the ministry or Nepal’s mission in Canada have been formally informed. “We have not been officially told about the withdrawal,” he said. No one was available for comment at CIDA.