Nepal and Belgium established diplomatic relations on 19 August 1963. Nepal opened its residential embassy in Brussels in 1992. The Embassy of Belgium in New Delhi is concurrently accredited to Nepal. Belgium has its Honorary Consulate in Kathmandu. The relations between the two countries have always been marked by goodwill, trust and mutual respect.
High Level Contacts
Contacts at various levels, especially at high level, have contributed to strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries. The then Prime Minister late Sushil Koirala visited Brussels in 2014. The then Prime Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur DEUBA visited Belgium from 25-28 August 2002 during which he had meetings with the then Belgian Prime Minister Mr. Guy VERHOFSTADT and various other dignitaries.
Then Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Foreign Minister (FM) Mr. Madhav Kumar NEPAL visited Belgium in February 1996. DPM’s and FM Mr. KP OLI in 2007, Mrs. Sahana PRADHAN in 2008, Mr. Upendra YADAV in March 2009 and other high dignitaries from Nepal have visited Belgium. Then Finance Minister Honourable Shanker KOIRALA visited Belgium in 2013 to inaugurate the 68th edition of Ghent International Trade Fair in which Nepal participated as ‘Country Guest of Honour’.
From the Belgian side, the then His Majesty the King Albert II made a private visit to Nepal during the eighties and His Majesty the King Philippe, the then Crown Prince, paid an unofficial visit to Nepal in 1998. The latest high-level visit from Belgium includes the official visit of the then Foreign Minister Mr. Karel De GUCHT to Nepal in 2005.
Belgium has contributed to Nepal’s development efforts by providing its cooperation through multilateral channels such as the UN, EU and international financial institutions. It also channels its cooperation though the NGO’s, both local and Belgian.
One of the major areas in which Belgian financial and technical cooperation has left visible marks is the area of telecommunication. The concessional state-to-state loans provided by Belgium to Nepal to implement the sixth telecommunication project during 1990’s contributed to upgrading the then existing telephone exchange into digital.
The Belgian government provides official development assistance to those countries that are included in the priority list. As Nepal is not in the list, it has requested the Belgian government for its inclusion in the list. According to the Belgian authorities, dropping from the list of a country and inclusion in it of a new one does not occur frequently. However, they take note of Nepal’s development needs and maintain the view that assistance could be channelled through multilateral and non-governmental organizations.
Nepal Red Cross and Red Cross Flanders have close collaboration. At present, Belgian Red Cross is involved in Nepal with some grassroots projects in Dhading and Gorkha districts. The Belgian government accepts proposals only from those NGOs which have been registered with it and can provide up to 100% grant assistance in select fields, 85% for larger NGOs and in normal cases 75% of the NGO budget. In addition, there are local NGOs, mainly formed by those Belgians who have visited Nepal. These NGOs regularly organize fund-raising programmes to support their small and medium scale activities in Nepal.
Belgium-Nepal Chamber of Commerce was launched at the city of Grimbergen, Belgium on 4 July 2014.
Trade and Investment
Nepal exports carpet, woollen goods, ready-made garments, handmade papers, handicrafts etc., to Belgium. Similarly, Nepal imports textile materials, machinery and parts, industrial raw materials, electrical goods, research equipment etc., from Belgium. The following are the trade figures for the last four years.
Value in NRS
As of July 2015, 12 projects under Belgian investment were in operation with an investment of Rs. 54 million which has created 395 jobs.
Nepal is popular destination among the Belgian tourists, especially for trekking, cultural and adventure attractions. A significant number of tourists arrive in Nepal from Belgium each year. The following figures show the tourist arrivals from Belgium in recent years:
|Year||Number of Tourists|
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs