In line with strategy to mature into an emerging economy, Nepal joins the Better Than Cash Alliance
  • April 21, 2015

This article has first been published on the Better Than Cash website

As part of its national vision to graduate from its Least Developed Country status, Nepal has announced an ambitious commitment to modernize its economy through digital payments. By joining the Better Than Cash Alliance, the Government’s new platforms, policies and programs will foster inclusive growth, transparency and women’s economic empowerment.

“In Nepal, we are entering an era of great transformation,” said Madhusudan Pokharel, Joint Secretary of Nepal’s Ministry of Finance. “Nepal recognizes the value of accelerating the use of safe, sound digital payments platforms. We are confident that the opportunities that digital payments provide will help us in making financial systems more transparent, cost effective and inclusive to the people of Nepal.”

As part of its commitment to digitizing payments, Nepal is planning to build a new system to digitize tax collection and social security allowances. Additionally, a targeted women’s economic empowerment initiative will help increase the financial independence of women by enhancing access to economic resources such as digital financial services. In its efforts to encourage the digitization of its economy, the Government of Nepal can leverage the Alliance’s policy and technical expertise on a number of digital payment initiatives that will increase government accountability and transparency.

Integrating digital payments into the economies of countries such as Nepal can provide many benefits, according to the World Bank Development Research Group. Digital payments reduce transaction costs, increase transparency, and accelerate access to formal financial services that help people break the cycle of poverty and drive inclusive economic growth.  The government’s vision, investment in infrastructure, and regulatory assurances can also encourage private sector innovation and investment.

Beyond its borders, Nepal’s commitment serves as an important example in the global advancement of emerging markets. This year, the international community will evaluate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and discuss a Post-2015 Development Agenda with a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. These goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty, can only be realized when they are achieved worldwide, placing an unprecedented spotlight on the performance of emerging markets such as Nepal, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Least Developed Countries Report 2014.

“We welcome Nepal into the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend them for their determination to grow the economy and empower women,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of The Better Than Cash Alliance. “Digital payments provide sustainable benefits to countries like Nepal that are looking to drive inclusive economic growth. From lowering costs and increasing security to connecting women to the financial mainstream, Nepal’s new efforts will help the country grow economically and socially, while also advancing the global digital payments ecosystem.”

Nepal joins 34 members of the Alliance that range from governments, development partners, UN agencies and private companies. Hosted by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the Alliance is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Visa Inc.


About Better Than Cash Alliance
The Better Than Cash Alliance partners with governments, the development community and the private sector to empower people by shifting from cash to electronic payments. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, USAID and Visa Inc. are funders and the U.N. Capital Development Fund serves as the secretariat. Visit, follow @BetterThan_Cash and subscribe for news.

About the Ministry of Finance, Nepal
The MOF is the central authority of Government of Nepal charged with the responsibilities for maintaining both micro and macro-economic stability in the country. Moreover, the key role of the Ministry lies with the more rationale allocation of resources; better management of public expenditure; enhanced mobilization of both internal  and external resources; greater performance in public  investments and strengthening of public enterprises productive capacity; open and simple  foreign exchange policies and regulation.