Unlocking Nepal’s Potential

A Conversation with Dr. Swarnim Wagle

Exploring Innovation: A Journey from Seattle's Skies to Nepal's Economic Aspirations

The Marriott Hotel buzzed with anticipation on a radiant evening as Bens Market, led by the dynamic CEO Nabin Joshi, joined hands with Xuno to host a transformative event. This gathering brought together 140 distinguished guests for an enlightening conversation with visionary economist Dr. Swarnim Wagle. The topic at hand held immense promise for Nepal—a journey toward a 100 Billion Dollar Economy.

Before the pivotal conference event that united these remarkable minds and visionary leaders, an intriguing journey unfolded. Nabin Joshi, the CEO of Bens Market, extended a warm welcome to Dr. Swarnim Wagle and his team, including Prabin Joshi, for an exploration of Seattle’s vibrant city. This prelude to the conference provided a unique opportunity to delve into the intersection of innovation and aspiration.

The day began with a visit to Seattle’s iconic landmark, the Space Needle. Against the backdrop of the city’s stunning skyline, discussions transcended conventional boundaries. High above the bustling streets, amid the clouds, the delegation shared insights and aspirations, setting the stage for the transformative conversations that awaited them.

After this awe-inspiring experience, the group reconvened with the Bens Market team for a delectable lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Amid the ambiance of culinary delights, more discussions unfolded, bridging the gap between vision and execution.

As the Space Needle’s rotating observation deck provided panoramic views, and the Cheesecake Factory’s menu sparked conversations, it was not just the cityscape and cuisine that captured their attention but also the limitless possibilities ahead for Nepal’s economy. Nabin Joshi, Swarnim Wagle, Prabin Joshi, and the group engaged in dialogues resonating with the spirit of progress and innovation.

This pre-conference exploration was more than sightseeing and dining; it was a catalyst for ideas, symbolizing that great visions often start with a single step, even if taken amidst the clouds.

In this article, we delve into the insights, conversations, and initiatives that transpired during the conference event hosted by Bens Market and Xuno, shedding light on the remarkable journey from Seattle’s skies to Nepal’s economic aspirations. Join us as we uncover the essence of innovation, collaboration, and the pursuit of a brighter future.

A Gathering of Visionaries

More than a mere gathering, this event was a convergence of ideas, a fusion of aspirations, and a celebration of the boundless possibilities that lie ahead for Nepal. The 140 guests represented a diverse cross-section of society, including seasoned entrepreneurs, influential policymakers, forward-thinking intellectuals, and visionary dreamers.

Key Figures Join the Conversation

The event also saw the participation of key figures like Jay Dahal, Kobid Dahal, Jagadamba Adhikaree, Prab Dahal, AC Sherpa, and Durga Shrestha. These individuals, each accomplished in their respective fields, added valuable insights to the conversation about Nepal’s economic future.

The conference began with a captivating opening speech by AC Sherpa, the Honorary Consul for Seattle in Washington State, a role appointed by the government to support Nepali communities in the state and promote Nepal’s tourism in the US. AC Sherpa’s extensive experience and dedication to local and global communities were evident in his impactful opening address.

Following AC Sherpa’s inspiring words, Prab Dahal, Bens Market and Xuno’s financial advisor, took the stage, delivering an address that set the stage for an evening of insightful discussions. Prab Dahal’s integral role as the financial advisor for Bens Market and Xuno was highlighted. During his address, Prab Dahal also shared a remarkable statistic: “Bens Market fuels 1.2 million miles for families every day.” This statement underscored the company’s significant contribution to the community and its commitment to enabling the journeys of countless families.

Moreover, during the event, Bens Market introduced its innovative retail media strategy, a testament to the company’s forward-thinking approach in the industry.

Fueling the Future: Justin Christensen's Vision for Reliable and Sustainable Fuel Distribution

After being introduced by Prab Dahal, Justin Christensen, the Vice President of Christensen, took the stage with an air of enthusiasm and determination. With his deep knowledge of fuel distribution operations in Washington State, Justin shared insights into the critical role that Christensen plays in ensuring a steady supply of fuel to families and businesses across the region. His dedication to the mission of enabling journeys and serving communities was evident as he discussed the company’s commitment to reliability, efficiency, and environmental responsibility in the fuel industry. Justin’s engaging presentation resonated with the audience, highlighting the essential role that Christensen plays in supporting the local economy and infrastructure.

Xuno: Pioneering Borderless Banking from the US to Nepal

Following the introduction of key figures and the insightful presentations, the event took an even more innovative turn as an engaging Xuno video presentation was showcased on the screen. This video provided attendees with a comprehensive understanding of Xuno’s mission and its pioneering role in borderless banking, connecting the United States and Nepal in a seamless financial network. It was a moment that highlighted the power of technology and innovation in transforming traditional financial services, setting the stage for further discussions and exploration of Xuno’s groundbreaking platform.

In an era defined by globalization and digital connectivity, financial services are evolving to meet the demands of a world that knows no borders. At the forefront of this transformation is Xuno, led by visionary entrepreneur Bal Joshi. Xuno is not merely a payment gateway system; it represents a profound shift in the way regular customers and Nepali freelancers can access financial services and conduct transactions across the miles.

Xuno’s mission is clear: to usher in a new era of borderless banking. It goes beyond the conventional boundaries of traditional banking, offering a seamless financial bridge between the United States and Nepal. This innovative platform provides a vital link for the Nepali diaspora and freelancers who rely on cross-border transactions for their livelihoods.

For regular customers, Xuno simplifies international transactions, making it easier to send funds, pay bills, and manage finances between the US and Nepal. What sets Xuno apart is its commitment to providing a secure, user-friendly, and cost-effective solution, ensuring that individuals can effortlessly manage their financial affairs across borders.

Nepali freelancers, in particular, find Xuno to be a game-changer. As the first borderless banking platform of its kind, Xuno empowers these freelancers to receive payments from clients in the US swiftly and efficiently. Gone are the days of navigating complex financial procedures and hefty fees. With Xuno, freelancers can focus on their work, knowing that their hard-earned income is just a few clicks away.

Xuno’s innovation extends beyond convenience. It embodies the spirit of global interconnectedness, fostering economic growth, and enhancing financial inclusion. By connecting banking services between nations, Xuno catalyzes opportunities for trade, investment, and collaboration, making the world a smaller and more accessible place for all.

In a rapidly changing financial landscape, Xuno stands as a testament to the power of innovation and the endless possibilities of borderless banking. Under the visionary leadership of Bal Joshi, Xuno continues to pave the way for a future where financial services know no borders, and individuals across the globe can enjoy the benefits of seamless, secure, and accessible banking.

A Vision for Progress

After the enlightening video presentation by Xuno, Prabin Joshi, the Operations Manager for Bens Market, took the stage to introduce the next segment—a comprehensive biography video highlighting the life and achievements of Dr. Swarnim Wagle. This video served as a prelude to the main event, providing attendees with a profound understanding of the distinguished economist’s background, accomplishments, and contributions to the field.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s biography video not only portrayed his impressive academic journey, which included earning a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in economics from the London School of Economics, a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) from Harvard University, and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in economics from the Australian National University, but also illuminated his deep dedication to Nepal’s economic progress. With a wealth of experience on both the national and international fronts, he showcased an unwavering commitment to driving positive change and advancement.

In April 2023, Dr. Swarnim Wagle embarked on a new chapter in his illustrious career as he assumed office in the House of Representatives of Nepal’s Federal Parliament. This followed a resounding victory in a by-election for the Tanahun constituency. His remarkable career featured pivotal roles, including serving as the head of the Institute for Integrated Development and a former vice chairman of Nepal’s National Planning Commission (NPC).

During his two tenures as an NPC member from 2014 to 2017, Dr. Wagle played a crucial part in shaping national policies and strategic plans that guided Nepal’s development journey. Notably, he co-led the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) initiative following the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015. His efforts were instrumental in mobilizing substantial commitments amounting to billions of dollars.

Additionally, Dr. Wagle represented Nepal as a ministerial delegate at the historic Addis Ababa Third UN Conference on Financing for Development, emphasizing his commitment to advancing the country’s interests on the global stage.

With over 15 years of distinguished service in international development, Dr. Wagle’s influence extended across more than 20 countries. His most recent role prior to his parliamentary appointment was as a senior economist at the World Bank in Washington, DC.

Dr. Wagle’s academic journey was equally remarkable, culminating in a PhD in economics from the Australian National University, an MPA in international development (MPA/ID) from Harvard University, and a BSc in economics from the London School of Economics. These academic accomplishments underscored his dedication and expertise in the field of economics.

Swarnim Wagle’s educational voyage commenced with outstanding achievements, securing the second position nationwide in the 2046 SLC (School Leaving Certificate) examination. He completed his school and high school studies at Budhanilkantha School in Kathmandu. His decision to pursue economics as a field of study after high school, a choice that diverged from the conventional paths of engineering or medicine pursued by his peers, was motivated by his aspiration to contribute to Nepal’s economic administration and strength.

Throughout his extensive 20-year career, Dr. Swarnim Wagle made substantial contributions to various international organizations, including the World Bank and multiple UN agencies. His leadership was most notably demonstrated in the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) initiative, leaving an indelible mark on national and international development through his economic research and policy development in Nepal.

From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Wagle’s role at Nepal’s National Planning Commission was pivotal in shaping the nation’s development plans and policies. He played a crucial part in formulating the 14th National Development Plan, a comprehensive roadmap guiding Nepal’s development initiatives from 2016 to 2021.

In addition to his national and international involvements, Dr. Wagle significantly impacted global economics during his tenure at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2009 to 2014. As an economist at the IMF, he focused on macroeconomic policy matters and provided guidance to member nations, gaining insights into global economic trends and policy dynamics.

Beyond his leadership in academia and research, Swarnim Wagle held various professional positions and authored numerous articles and research papers spanning sustainable development, fiscal and monetary policy, and poverty alleviation. His contributions in economics, policy analysis, and development planning earned him widespread recognition and acclaim.

As the video concluded, a sense of eager anticipation filled the room. Attendees were now well-prepared to engage in a meaningful conversation with Dr. Swarnim Wagle, armed with knowledge about his illustrious career and the invaluable insights he would soon share regarding Nepal’s path to a 100 Billion Dollar Economy. The stage was impeccably set for an evening of enlightenment, collaboration, and progress.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle Takes Center Stage: Illuminating Nepal's Economic Pathway

Following the introduction of key figures and the insightful video biography of Dr. Swarnim Wagle, the stage was set for the man of the hour to take the spotlight. It was a moment of anticipation as Nabin Joshi, CEO of Bens Market, stepped forward to provide further context and perspective on Dr. Wagle’s remarkable journey.

Nabin Joshi’s introduction set the tone for what was to come, emphasizing the significance of Dr. Wagle’s expertise and his pivotal role in shaping Nepal’s economic landscape. The audience, already captivated by the evening’s proceedings, was now eager to hear from the distinguished economist himself.

With Nabin Joshi’s words echoing in the air, the stage belonged to Dr. Swarnim Wagle, who, with his wealth of knowledge and experience, was poised to deliver a speech that would inspire and ignite discussions on Nepal’s path to a 100 Billion Dollar Economy. His presence commanded attention, and his words held the promise of insights that would leave a lasting impact on all those in attendance.

As Dr. Swarnim Wagle stepped up to the podium, the room fell into a hushed anticipation. The Marriott Hotel’s grand ballroom, filled with 140 distinguished guests, was now focused solely on this eminent economist. His speech was not merely an address; it was a roadmap to Nepal’s economic aspirations. Dr. Wagle began by recounting his journey, from academic achievements at prestigious institutions to his extensive international service. He emphasized the importance of innovation, investment, and inclusivity in propelling Nepal toward its ambitious goal of a 100 Billion Dollar Economy. His insights resonated deeply with the audience, sparking lively discussions about how each sector, from technology to tourism, could contribute to Nepal’s economic transformation. The stage was set for an evening of enlightenment, collaboration, and progress.

The Path to a 100 Billion Dollar Economy

Dr. Swarnim Wagle delved deep into the strategies and policies that could propel Nepal toward this ambitious goal. He emphasized the need for innovation, investment, and inclusivity. His insights resonated with the audience, sparking discussions on how each sector, from technology to tourism, could contribute to Nepal’s economic transformation.

A Journey Through Time: Nepal's Economic Timeline

As the evening’s discussions progressed, Dr. Swarnim Wagle took the audience on a comprehensive journey through Nepal’s economic history—an odyssey marked by remarkable milestones and transformative changes.

Early Struggles and Resilience

Dr. Wagle initiated the discourse with a poignant reflection on Nepal’s early struggles, highlighting the unyielding resilience of its people in the face of adversity. He recounted an era when Nepal confronted numerous challenges, both internally and externally, and underscored the indomitable spirit of the nation’s populace, which played a pivotal role in its trajectory.

Inflection Points and Growth

Transitioning the narrative, the economist elucidated key inflection points in Nepal’s economic journey. He expounded on pivotal moments when the nation made significant strides in critical sectors such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and technology. Dr. Wagle’s sagacious insights painted a vivid portrait of Nepal’s growth and its profound impact on enhancing the lives of its citizens.

Towards a 100 Billion Dollar Economy

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s discussion of Nepal’s economic timeline served as a prelude to a captivating narrative—an expedition into the nation’s path toward achieving a 100 Billion Dollar Economy.

A Moon Shot Ambition: Nepal's Vision for the Future

Dr. Wagle’s address transcended temporal boundaries as it encompassed Nepal’s audacious vision for the future—a vision reminiscent of a moon shot in its audacity and boundless scope.

Reaching for the Moon

In his impassioned address, Dr. Wagle masterfully drew parallels between Nepal’s aspirations and President John F. Kennedy’s iconic moon shot speech. He articulated a vision where Nepal could attain feats that might appear audacious, such as embarking on a mission to the moon and returning home before the decade concludes. This moon shot ambition, he fervently emphasized, served as the propellant for Nepal’s unrelenting pursuit of economic excellence.

Progress Over the Last 30 Years

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s address also cast a discerning eye on Nepal’s progress over the past three decades. He meticulously delineated how the nation had undergone a profound transformation, not only in economic terms but also in its global positioning. Nepal’s journey, as he eloquently described it, paralleled a transformative odyssey that had propelled the nation forward on multiple fronts.

Absolute and Relative Comparison: Assessing Nepal's Journey

Dr. Wagle’s discourse on Nepal’s economic journey encompassed a nuanced examination of the concepts of absolute and relative comparison.

Absolute Comparison: Gauging Accomplishments

He underscored the paramount importance of absolute comparison, wherein Nepal’s accomplishments were evaluated in their own right. Dr. Wagle celebrated the nation’s achievements across diverse sectors, which had demonstrably enhanced the quality of life for its citizens. These domestic triumphs stood as a resounding testament to Nepal’s substantive growth and progress.

Relative Comparison: Benchmarking Global Position

In addition to advocating for absolute comparison, Dr. Wagle championed the adoption of a global perspective through relative comparison. He ardently encouraged the audience to appraise Nepal’s economic growth in relation to other nations. By benchmarking Nepal’s progress against global peers, he underscored the nation’s trajectory towards heightened global competitiveness and influence.

A Focus on Productivity and Increasing Absolute Value

Dr. Swarnim Wagle, in his comprehensive address, emphasized the critical importance of focusing on productivity as Nepal advances on its economic journey. He highlighted the need to increase the absolute value of Nepal’s contributions to various sectors, thereby enhancing the nation’s economic standing and global influence.

Addressing Global Challenges: Decarbonization, Green Hydrogen, and Climate Change

In an era marked by pressing global challenges, Dr. Wagle passionately discussed Nepal’s role in addressing critical issues such as decarbonization, green hydrogen, and climate change. He emphasized the need for proactive measures to combat climate change and highlighted the potential of green hydrogen as a sustainable energy source. Nepal’s commitment to environmental stewardship and its contributions to global efforts in mitigating climate change were key themes in his address.

Renewable Energy and Geopolitics: Nepal's Strategic Position

Dr. Wagle underscored Nepal’s strategic position in the geopolitics of renewable energy. He discussed how the nation’s abundant natural resources, including hydropower potential, positioned it as a key player in the global shift towards renewable energy sources. Nepal’s role in regional energy cooperation and its potential to become an energy exporter featured prominently in his discourse.

Positioning Nepal in a Competitive Landscape: The Imperatives of Innovation

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s thought-provoking address delved into Nepal’s unique position in South Asia, emphasizing the need for a weightless and distance less approach in an era where neighboring countries like India and Bangladesh were making significant economic strides. He underscored the pivotal concept that Nepal, in order to excel, must transcend geographical limitations.

Merchandise and IT Exports: A Comparative Analysis

Dr. Wagle provided a sobering perspective on Nepal’s economic exports. He highlighted that Nepal had historically never exported more than 1 billion dollars in merchandise. In stark contrast, the country’s IT exports accounted for approximately half a billion dollars, with around 66,000 Nepali freelancers actively contributing to this sector. He pointed out that Nepal’s government had yet to fully organize and harness the potential of this burgeoning industry.

Scaling IT Exports: From 500 Million to 5 Billion to 500 Billion

Dr. Swarnim Wagle posed a critical question: How could Nepal elevate its IT exports from the current 500 million dollars to a staggering 5 billion dollars and, eventually, to a transformative 500 billion dollars? He stressed that such a transformation necessitated comprehensive training programs to equip the population with the skills required to thrive in the IT sector.

The Borderless Economy Paradigm

In his visionary address, Dr. Wagle introduced the concept of a borderless economy, where the physical boundaries between nations become less significant. He emphasized that in the age of digitalization, five key factors, the “5 D’s,” would shape Nepal’s economic trajectory:

  • Digitalization: The proliferation of digital technology would be a cornerstone of Nepal’s economic development.
  • Distance: Nepal’s proximity to economic giants like China and India presented both opportunities and challenges that needed to be strategically navigated.
  • Demography: Nepal’s young and dynamic population, coupled with 250 years of government history, offered a unique advantage.
  • Democracy: Dr. Wagle emphasized the role of the government in supporting Nepal’s journey towards economic excellence, especially in the context of democracy.
  • Diaspora: The Nepali diaspora was an invaluable resource that could contribute significantly to the nation’s economic growth.
*Translated from Nepali*

Q&A session

During the Q&A session following Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s speech, several thought-provoking questions were raised by the audience, and his responses provided valuable insights into Nepal’s challenges and potential solutions.

Question 1: Why is Nepal not progressing, and what does Nepal need in terms of government policies?

Answer 1: Dr. Wagle highlighted the complexity of global geopolitics and the importance of avoiding conspiracy theories. He emphasized the need for a more direct approach to problem-solving and called for a focus on Nepal’s specific challenges. Drawing from his experience in government and international organizations like the World Bank, he discussed the existence of certain redlines in international relations. He stressed the importance of addressing issues related to electricity, trade regulations with China, and the significance of maintaining human rights and democracy.

Question 2: Given your experience with various scenarios, how can your insights be applied to Nepal’s problems, particularly in the tourism sector?

Answer 2: Dr. Wagle shared insights into the complexities of the tourism sector, emphasizing the need for Nepal to develop a more strategic approach. He discussed the importance of promoting Nepal as a unique destination with a focus on sustainable tourism. Drawing from his extensive background, he highlighted the significance of addressing issues such as infrastructure development, marketing, and international collaborations to boost the tourism sector.

Question 3: Why is Nepal sending its citizens abroad?

Answer 3: Dr. Wagle addressed the issue of Nepali citizens seeking opportunities abroad. He acknowledged that this trend is driven by the pursuit of better opportunities and livelihoods. He emphasized the importance of creating an environment within Nepal that offers similar opportunities and incentivizes citizens to stay and contribute to the country’s development. This includes addressing issues related to education, job creation, and economic growth.

Question 4: What are your thoughts on Nepal’s constitution and the need for political reform?

Answer 4: Dr. Wagle discussed the complexities of Nepal’s political landscape and the challenges related to the constitution. He stressed the importance of inclusive governance and the need for political reforms that can address the concerns of various communities within Nepal. He highlighted the significance of dialogue, collaboration, and a commitment to democratic principles in shaping the country’s political future.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s responses provided a nuanced perspective on these critical issues, shedding light on potential pathways for Nepal’s progress and development.

Bens Market, Xuno, and a Commitment to Nepal

Bens Market and Xuno, under the visionary leadership of CEO Nabin Joshi, reaffirmed their profound commitment to Nepal’s progress following Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s enlightening speech. Their dedication extended to supporting initiatives that bolster entrepreneurship, advocate for sustainable practices, and harness the immense potential of Nepal’s youth. This commitment was further underscored by the pivotal role played by Justin Christensen, a central figure in fuel transportation not just for Bens Market but across the entirety of Washington state. Together, they stood as beacons of transformative collaboration, poised to drive Nepal towards a brighter and more prosperous future.

Revolutionizing Convenience Store Management: The RedStone Initiative

In the ever-evolving landscape of business innovation, the dynamic partnership between Bens Market and Nepal-based RaRa Labs has birthed an ingenious solution set to revolutionize convenience store management. RedStone, an avant-garde back-office management platform, is the brainchild of the visionary entrepreneur, Pranjal Joshi. His forward-thinking vision, combined with the technical finesse of RaRa Labs under the leadership of Manoj Ghimire, is poised to empower the managerial team at Bens Market.

Precision in Design, Efficiency in Practice

RedStone, a meticulously crafted platform, stands ready to address the multifaceted challenges that modern convenience store chains encounter. Pranjal Joshi’s foresight has harmoniously blended with the technical proficiency of RaRa Labs to create a robust tool that streamlines inventory management, sales tracking, and reporting. RedStone is a game-changer that equips Bens Market’s management team with real-time data for informed decision-making.

More Than Just Software: A Commitment to Excellence

RedStone isn’t just another software solution; it embodies Bens Market’s dedication to enhancing operational efficiency, elevating customer experiences, and embracing sustainability. In an era where data-driven decision-making reigns supreme, RedStone emerges as a symbol of progress, aligning seamlessly with the company’s vision for growth and distinction.

A Catalyst for Bens Market's Expansion

As Bens Market continues its expansive journey in the realm of convenience stores, RedStone takes center stage as a pivotal tool in their arsenal. It signifies a commitment to harnessing cutting-edge technology to meet the ever-evolving needs of customers and stakeholders alike.

A Synergy of Innovation and Expertise

The collaboration between Bens Market, Pranjal Joshi, and RaRa Labs in Nepal, led by Manoj Ghimire, exemplifies the untapped potential when innovative thinking converges with technical prowess. RedStone represents not just a step towards greater efficiency but a giant stride towards a more dynamic, responsive, and customer-centric future in the realm of convenience store management.

Empowering the IT Sector: A Visionary Approach

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s recent insights into Nepal’s IT export sector further accentuate the significance of RedStone. With Nepal’s IT exports already accounting for half a billion dollars, the need for innovative tools like RedStone to manage and optimize operations becomes increasingly evident. RedStone’s potential to facilitate this growth in the IT sector adds an exciting layer to its role as a transformative force in convenience store management.

Stay tuned as Bens Market and RedStone lead the way in transforming convenience stores into bastions of innovation, operational excellence, and unparalleled customer satisfaction. The journey has just begun, and the destination is nothing short of revolutionary.

A Feast for the Senses

Adding a delightful dimension to the evening, the event featured a sumptuous dinner buffet. This culinary journey featured an array of local and international cuisines that delighted the guests’ palates, all while continuing their discussions on Nepal’s economic prospects.

Networking and Collaboration

Beyond the enlightening conversation, the event provided a platform for networking and collaboration. Guests exchanged ideas, contacts, and promises to work together towards a brighter economic future for Nepal.

Exclusive Raffle Prizes at the Event

The excitement didn’t end with the discussions. Attendees had a chance to win fantastic raffle prizes, including:

  • Complementary 3 days and 2 nights stay at Suncadia Resort.
  • $200 gift card.
  • $100 gift card.

To participate in these thrilling raffle draws and get a chance to win these exclusive prizes, attendees were required to download the Bens Market mobile app during the event. It was the key to unlocking these fantastic rewards and staying updated on our initiatives for Nepal’s economic growth.

A Night to Remember

As the event drew to a close, there was a sense of optimism in the air. The evening had been more than just a conversation; it was a catalyst for change. Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s words lingered in the minds of all who attended, serving as a reminder that Nepal’s journey to a 100 Billion Dollar Economy is not just a dream but an achievable reality.

Moving Forward, Together

The morning following this remarkable event, Dr. Swarnim Wagle and his dedicated team, alongside Nabin Joshi and Prabin Joshi, embarked on an insightful journey to the Microsoft campus. There, they engaged in a pivotal meeting with one of Microsoft’s distinguished leaders, who, notably, is also of Nepali heritage. This meeting was a testament to the ongoing discussions and collaborations focused on shaping Nepal’s economic future and leveraging the expertise and support of global leaders in technology and innovation.

During the meeting at the Microsoft campus, Dr. Swarnim Wagle and his team had the privilege of engaging with Nabin Khanal, a prominent leader at Microsoft who also happens to be of Nepali origin. This meeting served as a valuable opportunity to delve deeper into discussions about Nepal’s economic future, leveraging the insights and expertise of a leader like Nabin Khanal, who understands both the global tech landscape and Nepal’s unique challenges and opportunities.

The Meeting

During the meeting at the Microsoft campus, Dr. Swarnim Wagle and the team engaged in a discussion that touched upon significant initiatives in Nepal. One noteworthy topic was the Bill Gates Foundation’s nutrition initiative in Nepal, which commenced in 2015. Dr. Wagle’s dedication to this cause was exemplified as he mentioned taking a pro bono role for a year to provide his expertise and support to this important endeavor. This commitment took him to New York, where he contributed to the initiative’s efforts, reflecting his passion for driving positive change and his unwavering commitment to Nepal’s development. This meeting showcased the power of collaboration between global leaders like Nabin Khanal and dedicated individuals like Dr. Wagle in advancing Nepal’s economic and social progress.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle emphasized several key areas during his discussion about Nepal’s economic future:

Government Reform: Dr. Wagle stressed the importance of reforming government policies and structures to facilitate economic growth. Efficient governance can create an environment conducive to investment and development.

Nepal’s Economic Engine: He discussed the need to identify and nurture Nepal’s economic engine, which includes sectors like technology, tourism, agriculture, and clean energy. Focusing on these sectors can drive economic growth.

Low-Hanging Fruits: Dr. Wagle highlighted the potential of “low-hanging fruits,” indicating that there are readily available opportunities for economic development that can be harnessed with the right strategies.

High-Value Agriculture: Agriculture can be transformed from subsistence farming to high-value agriculture, leading to increased income for rural communities and economic growth for the country.

Clean Energy: Clean and renewable energy sources can play a crucial role in reducing Nepal’s energy dependence and environmental impact while creating new economic opportunities.

Tourism: Nepal’s natural beauty and cultural heritage make it an attractive destination for tourists. Dr. Wagle discussed the potential for expanding and promoting tourism as a key economic driver.

Landscape Marketing: Promoting Nepal’s unique landscapes and natural beauty can attract international investments and tourists.

Digitalization: Digitalization was highlighted as a solution to overcome Nepal’s landlocked situation and geographical challenges. It can connect Nepal to global markets and opportunities.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle's Vision for Nepal's Economic Growth

Dr. Swarnim Wagle and other members in the meeting shared a comprehensive vision during the discussion for Nepal’s economic advancement:

Economic Challenges and Opportunities: Dr. Wagle acknowledged Nepal’s economic challenges, with a GDP of $42 billion compared to India’s $3 trillion. However, he stressed that this disparity was due to India’s larger population, highlighting Nepal’s growth potential.

Diversification Beyond IT: Dr. Wagle advocated diversifying Nepal’s economy beyond the IT sector, emphasizing the importance of clean energy development. This shift aligns with global sustainability trends and reduces reliance on traditional energy sources.

Marketing Clean Energy: He suggested marketing clean energy as “Clean Himalayan water,” leveraging Nepal’s unique geographical advantage—the pristine Himalayan region known for its pure water sources.

Addressing Brain Drain: Dr. Wagle addressed the issue of talented Nepali individuals studying abroad, creating challenges for local universities. Kathmandu University, once popular among Nepali students, now faces faculty vacancies due to fewer students staying in Nepal.

Technology Leadership: Discussions highlighted the importance of staying ahead in technology trends, focusing on innovations at least five years ahead of the current state, ensuring Nepal’s competitiveness.

Attracting International Companies: There was enthusiasm about attracting global giants like Amazon to Nepal, which could expand e-commerce, create jobs, and boost trade.

Internet Access and Starlink: Participants discussed improving Internet access in rural areas through ISPs and the possibility of introducing Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite Internet project, in Nepal. This could attract more companies to invest in Nepal.

Regulatory Environment: Creating favorable regulations and an enabling environment was emphasized to encourage talented youth to stay in Nepal and contribute to its growth.

Employment Generation: The overarching goal was to create more employment opportunities in Nepal, recognizing that retaining talent within the country is crucial for economic development.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle’s vision encompasses economic diversification, sustainability, technology leadership, and retaining talent, all contributing to Nepal’s progress on the path to economic growth.

Harnessing Collective Strength for Nepal's Economic Ascent

The Bens Market and Xuno event showcased the power of collaboration, the significance of open dialogue, and the immense potential for transformation. Nepal stands at the threshold of an extraordinary economic journey, guided by visionary leaders like Dr. Swarnim Wagle. Supported by organizations such as Bens Market led by Nabin Joshi and Xuno led by Bal Joshi, driven individuals like Justin Christensen, who plays a pivotal role in fuel transportation, and innovative solutions like RedStone, masterminded by Pranjal Joshi and championed by the technical prowess of RaRa Labs under the leadership of Manoj Ghimire, the nation is primed for remarkable achievements. This collective effort also benefits from valuable insights shared by prominent leaders like Nabin Khanal at Microsoft, fortifying Nepal’s position on the path to greater heights.

As we reflect on the remarkable evening and the promising meetings that followed, one thing is abundantly clear: the journey to a 100 Billion Dollar Economy for Nepal is a collective endeavor. It’s a shared commitment to unlock Nepal’s immense potential and craft a success story that will resonate across generations.

Stay tuned for more insights, engaging conversations, and impactful initiatives as we continue working tirelessly toward a brighter and more prosperous Nepal. Together, we’ll script the future we aspire to achieve.

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