People search amid the rubble of collapsed houses in Bhaktapur, a city in Nepal, on April 27, 2015, two days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the South Asian country.  PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

Remittances play a big role in Nepal’s economy

Noel King Apr 27, 2015
People search amid the rubble of collapsed houses in Bhaktapur, a city in Nepal, on April 27, 2015, two days after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the South Asian country.  PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images

Roughly 30 percent of Nepal’s GDP comes in the form of remittances, money sent home by Nepalese working abroad.

Data from
World Bank

Every day, around 1,000 Nepalese board flights for countries in the Gulf, North Africa and Asia; others go overland to India.
They find jobs, most often, in construction or the services sector. And then, many send money home.

Ratha is the manager of the Migration and Remittances unit at the World Bank.  He says remittances are crucial.

“At the very poor level,” he explains, “it is really a lifeline that provides people with food, with shelter and with education
and business investments.”

Remittances have helped reduce Nepal’s poverty rate, but there is a possible downside to so many young, able-bodied
men working outside of the country.  When it is time to rebuild damaged and destroyed homes and businesses, some analysts
suggest Nepal may face a shortage of labor. On the other hand, money being sent home to the country will now be all that
much more important.

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