Inviting applications for the SAREP Grants Annual Program Statement (APS) – FY2024. For more information click Here.

Nepal

USAID’s ‘Strategy Paper for Creation of South Asia Forum on Energy Investment (SAFEI) for Promoting Regional Energy Investment’ was launched by Sh. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Nepal, in Kathmandu on April 18 at the inaugural session of Power Summit 2023. He was joined by Karen Welch, Deputy Mission Director, USAID Nepal. The two-day Power Summit was organized by Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal.

An earlier USAID study on “Regional Investment Framework and Guidelines for Promoting Investment in South Asian Power Sector and in Cross-Border Electricity Trade in South Asia”, after undertaking a comprehensive analysis on the issues related to investments in Cross Border Electricity Trade (CBET) projects, recommended to create a Regional CBET Investment Facilitation Forum.

The SAFEI concept was developed under USAID’s South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) program and is now being institutionalized under USAID’s South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP) program.

USAID, through SAREP, also held a standalone plenary session on ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Mobilizing Investment in Regional Energy Projects in South Asia and Institutionalizing the South Asia Forum for Energy Integration’ with speakers such as Ambassador (retd.) Tariq Ahmed Karim, former ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States and the former High Commissioner to India; Arjun Kumar Gautam, CEO, Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Ltd. (HIDCL); Ujjwal Deep Dahal, Chief Executive Officer, Druk Holding & Investments Limited; Nitin Sabikhi, Vice President and Head (Strategy and Market), Renew Power; and Victoria Delmon, Upstream and Advisory Manager, Infrastructure, IFC.

Arjun Kumar Gautam

The session chair, Sushil Bhatta, CEO, Investment Board Nepal, said a forum such as SAFEI can be a good platform to showcase regional power projects, which will help all countries in South Asia move towards economic growth by integrating available resources in the region.

Rajiv Ratna Panda, Power Market Specialist, USAID’s SAREP, delivered a presentation on ‘ SAFEI and International Best Practices-Project of Common Interest’ in which he explained the nature of regional energy and CBET projects, and their uniqueness and risks. He said SAFEI is poised to become the regional centre of excellence for creating an investor friendly ecosystem for the development of sustainable regional energy projects and advancing cross border energy trade in South Asia. Monali Zeya-Hazra, Regional and Clean Energy Specialist, USAID India, reaffirmed USAID’s commitment to institutionalize SAFEI to improve investment environment in South Asia. She also invited interested stakeholders to join the forum.

On April 19, Namrata Mukherjee, Deputy Chief of Party (Trade and Investments), USAID’s SAREP, participated as a speaker in the session titled ‘Financing: Resource Mobilization, Structuring and Investment in Power Projects’. The session was chaired by Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, Hon’ble Finance Minister of Nepal. The keynote address was delivered by Maha Prasad Adhikari, Governor, Nepal Rashtra Bank, and the panel discussion at the session was moderated by Ram Krishna Khatiwada, CEO Nepal Infrastructure Bank Ltd (NIFRA).

“To bring in international capital to Nepal, increasing bankability of projects and building a robust pipeline of assets is important. For both these points, a regional forum such as SAFEI can play a very effective role in providing a facilitative platform for investors and developers,” said Ms Mukherjee.

At the close of the summit, USAID’s SAREP also received special appreciation through a plaque presented by Sh. Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Hon’ble Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Nepal.

USAID’s ‘Strategy Paper

Presentation:

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