Nepal and the French Republic entered into diplomatic relations on 20 April 1949. The relations between Nepal and France continue to be informed by immense goodwill, trust, and mutual respect on both sides. They both established their embassies in each other’s capital in June 1967. H.E. Mr. Sardul Shamsher JB Rana represents Nepal as the first residential ambassador to France.
France welcomed the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal on 20 September 2015. The statement issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation on the same day the constitution was issued, mentioned, “the promulgation of the Constitution is a key step toward continuing national reconciliation, restoring political stability and returning to the path of development’.
Exchange of Visits
The long-standing friendly ties between Nepal and France received further momentum with the various high-level visits. The recent and prominent ones among them include:
From Nepali side:
- 3rd October 2006, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli met with the President of the French Constitutional Council Pierre Mazeau.
- 5 to 9 March 2001, the then Prime Minister Mr.Girija Prasad Koirala, official visit.
- September 1994. Late King Birendra, State visit France, and on October 1989, unofficial visit,
- 1995, the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, official visit.
- April 1995, the then Prime Minister Mr. Man Mohan Adhikary, on his way back from Denmark after attending the World Summit on Social Development.
- October 1966, Late King Mahendra, State Visit to France where he was welcomed by the then General Charles de Gaulle.
From French side:
- 24-26th September 2006, a delegation of French Senators led by Mr. Yvon Collin, the Chairman of France Nepal Amity Group in the French Senate.
- May 1996, Dr. Margie Sudre, French Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, official visit.
- 2 to 3 May 1983, President Francois Mitterrand, State Visit to Nepal.
In the aftermath of the earthquake on 25th April, the Government of France expressed solidarity with the people and Government of Nepal, and a mission of 11 rescuers along with equipment and supplies arrived in Kathmandu.
Terrorist Attacks in Paris and Kabul
The Government of Nepal strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in multiple places in Paris, France, that took place on 13 November 2015. France also extended condolences to Nepal condemning the terrorist attacks in Kabul on 20 June 2016 in which 14 Nepalese were killed.
Bilateral economic cooperation program commenced in February 1981 when the two countries signed the First Protocol amounting to French Franc 50 million loans which were converted into debt in 1989. Food aid and the counterpart funds that it generated have been the main form of aid since 1991. The main areas of cooperation are national seismologic network, petroleum exploration, restructuring of Water Supply Corporation, the Kavre Integrated Project and Gulmi and Arghakhanchi Rural Development Project, rehabilitation of airports, ‘food for work’, and others.
Currently, there is direct bilateral official development cooperation from France. Cooperation between France and Nepal is now channeled through the European Union with the only exception of the support given to the Alliance Française of Kathmandu and to a yearly mission for training in medical high mountain rescue. The Alliance Française de Katmandou is the main tool for teaching French and organizing cultural activities in Nepal.
In the field of journalism, Agence France Presse and the National News Agency (RSS) have developed strong contacts for more than 40 years.
Radio France International is also providing musical programs to local FM radios.
Alliance française de Katmandou
The Alliance is offering courses on French languages to the general public as well as trekking agencies, international hotels, staff belonging to UN agencies, or some foreign diplomats. It has signed agreements with eight schools in Kathmandu, from primary to secondary levels.
Backed by local sponsors, the Alliance organizes cultural events and, on a yearly basis, the Francophony Festival and the June Music Festival.
Support to NGOs:
Over 80 French NGOs are providing help in Nepal, mainly in the education and health sectors.
France is contributing multilateral aid to developing countries through United Nations agencies and other International Organizations.
The French government had been providing a few scholarships in the field of public administration, diplomacy, journalism, hotel management, musicology, literature, French as a second language, etc. until the last few years.
Nepal exports pulses, incense sticks, handmade papers, carpet, handicrafts, ready-made garments, woolen goods, silver jewelry, etc. to France. Similarly, Nepal imports machinery and parts, industrial raw materials, aircraft, and spare parts, fertilizer, telecommunications equipment, electrical goods, scientific research equipment, etc. from France. Import value is higher than the export value, as shown in the table below:
Value in Rs.’000
|2014||13, 177, 685||20, 882, 692||-7, 705, 007|
|2015||1,293, 111,070||7,424,517,021||-61, 135, 994|
Nepal and France have signed an agreement concerning Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investment in 1983. The major areas of French investment comprise of hotels, restaurants, medicine, aluminum windows and doors, vehicle bodybuilding sectors. Alcatel had become the leading supplier of the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation, with 200,000 lines installed, and fiber optic cables. Several French companies have expressed their interest in the hydroelectric sector. Cegelec secured a 24 million dollars contract in respect of the construction of the Kali Gandaki hydroelectric project.
The Government of Nepal awarded a contract to Oberthur Technologies of France in 2010, for printing, supply, and delivery of Machine Readable Passports.
The Government of Nepal and the French Embassy in Kathmandu have exchanged letters to renew the agreement on the establishment of ‘Alliance Françoise de Katmandou’ (the French Cultural Centre in Kathmandu) for ten more years.
A significant number of tourists arrive in Nepal from France each year. The following figures show the tourist arrivals trends from France in recent years:
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs