Nepali Times Asian Paints

Back to Main Page

Implications of Brexit for Nepal

Friday, June 24th, 2016

On Friday morning within hours of the ‘Leave’ win in Britain’s European Union (EU) referendum, the British pound had fallen by 13% and stocks plummeted in trading when East Asian bourses opened.

The result of the referendum will reverberate not just in Britain but will also be felt around the world, including in Nepal through remittances, aid, trade and tourism.

British citizens of Nepali origin — who number 95,000 — will see their earnings drop, and the British pound that they send home to relatives will have less value. There are many ex-Gurkhas and families who have moved to the UK, as well as other migrants.

Rising xenophobia against foreigners will also impact on Nepali residents in the UK through greater social vulnerability, as well as through tighter immigration policies on new migrants.

The weakening of the EU as a result of UK’s exit will mean that effort towards regionalism elsewhere in the world, including South Asia, will also suffer. The European common market and European Parliament were pointing the way towards economic growth and equity through supra-nationalism. A weaker EU would indirectly mean a weaker rationale for SAARC and SAFTA, and therefore a diminished role for Nepal in pushing for regionalism.

Britain is the largest bilateral donor to Nepal, and also helps through multilateral agencies such as the UN as well as INGOs, including Oxfam, Save the Children, ActionAid, WaterAid. Any weakening of the UK economy and a rise of right-wing politics will lead to cutbacks in the official aid budget. A weakened EU may also be forced to reduce its own developmental outlays.

On foreign policy, Nepal may hope to benefit from greater focus by London, which had been forced to look at the world partially through European, American or Indian eyes. The takeover of so much of foreign policy by the EU and European Parliament — among other reasons — meant that London became less significant for Nepal.

Kathmandu has been irritated with the inability of Brussels to speak out during the Indian Blockade, and when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to London, Nepal figured in their joint communiqué. As Nepali officialdom saw it, with the rise of the EU, Whitehall seemed to give up its independent Nepal policy: becoming a part of EU and American strategy for Nepal.

Nepal could now demand more attention from the UK as a historical friend of Nepal, and in whose military Nepali citizens have served, and still serve. The hope in Kathmandu is that London has an independent focus on Nepal rather than through the prism of Brussels, Washington DC or New Delhi.

Manik Acharya in London


Go back to previous page          Bookmark and Share         

13 Responses to “Implications of Brexit for Nepal”

  1. LT Sherpa on Says:

    “The hope in Kathmandu is that London has an independent focus on Nepal rather than through the prism of Brussels, Washington DC or New Delhi.”

    The last line is the most important and probably the hope of Britishers along with many others. The Brexit story is not a mere a rejection of Brussels or Europeans, but rather the Goldman-Sachs-backed neoliberal project to privatize all public assets and privatize all of the losses of their casino capitalism model.

    Insofar as Nepalis are hired as servants of oligarchs, I wouldn’t expect to see much immediate pact although some oligarchs may have to choose between that third holiday house and extra servants at the remaining two houses due to stock market losses (~88%+ owned by 1% of population). Regular NRN brits however might be able to hold on to their pensions and national health insurance a lot longer than when they would be more swiftly handed over to Wall St-City-privatized war machine nexus to trade for debt-backed derivatives held by insecure, uncapitalized counterparties.

    It will take more nuanced, investigative reports to account for more of these dynamics.

  2. LT Sherpa on Says:

    line 5 should read “privatize all public assets and publicize all of the losses”

  3. Ian on Says:

    As some one who regularly sends money to Nepal, I voted to leave the EU. I am neither xenophobic nor racist.

    We voted to leave because we wanted to take back control of our democracy and break way from a failing economic block. That’s it.

    Pound sterling is already recovering as we speak so I think that the costs to Nepal will be very much limited.

  4. Giorgio on Says:

    nothing will be any different … all this hoopla about brexit is just British hubris wanton that has no practical value. in a few days, everyone will go back to forgetting that country and its dwindling place in the world. Sun has already set in that empire.

  5. Nomaes on Says:

    Good writeup. But why use SPF Gurkha image when its got nothing to do with them. But I do agree that Brexit will have its affect on Nepal, both economically and politically. For better or worse, only time will tell.

  6. Amrit Gurung on Says:

    Mr Manik,

    A very comprehensive article on the affects of brexit, with a wrong photo for the article, the on guard Gurkha Officer is from the Singapore Police Force and not from British Army. Not sure if it was intentional or unintentional but a photo of British Army Gurkha Officer would be the best fit for the article.


  7. anonymous on Says:

    Britons hope to keep all foreigners out and health insurance better. In reality they have been lied to.
    Europe underwent a terrible economic crisis and the storm of refugees the past years has not at all been dealt with clearly. Political parties balanced anti foreigner feelings from populist extreme right. Recent terrorism made it seem politics from far away is not the thing.
    Now what? it was a mistake to have uneducated people vote from fear and being misinformed that the money they paid to Brussels would go to them.
    So on the basis of lies young people can now not go to work in other european countries, pound and all world markets are weakened just because of ‘ independence’. Buddha teaches interdependence and faith.
    However the poor people sit with unemployed pakistani neighbours and people do not recognise their own country. The old empire is gone, but they return to a village mentality typical of islanders. Sad and stupid. My condolences to all bright international english. It is also wrong that all immigrants want to come to England just because of the easy language and are not interested in the UK just money to send home.
    Democracy is a difficult thing. It is best some good people make laws then let the dumb manage and mismanage.

  8. anonymous on Says:

    Implications are worldwide. Europe is destabilising due to the economic crisis and populism. Now all far right populists will push for referenda and cooperation will be lost. At worst. Very negative consequences for all.

  9. jay on Says:

    It’s much better for Nepalese community in UK as a whole. Remember that half of UK’s refugee in the past had been sent from EU. This was also one of the main reason regarding immigration and refugee policy that people opted to stay out of EU. Now some of those funds will be going to Nepalese ex Gurkha community which would be a good thing. innit?

  10. Les Griffiths on Says:

    Nepalis have served the Britsh Crown since 1857,……and although I am an Australian, I believe also that Britain can , and should, focus much more on issues relating to tiny Nepal now that the Brussels- directed Blinkers are off.

    I think the Ghurka is deservedly well respected in Britain by Brits on both sides of the d
    Brexit campaign…………………………………..I wish my own Government would raise a Brigade of Ghurkas, and then allow them and their dependents to settle and contribute to Australia….

    They are not only superb soldiers…….but excellent farmers!!!!!!

  11. Whatever on Says:

    What the heck this scribe is penning about? He hasn’t as yet understood as to how the UK as a country is shattered by their jingoism? As of now I hear here and there some folks are waking up from the torper in which the country has been immersed. First off Scotland will demand separation as 62 % of Scottish want to stay in the EU. The economy of the UK will take the downhill road toward the rock-bottom. If ya talk with ’em your petty problematic of remittance et al they will giggle at your face coz that’s not the least of their preoccupation, when The City will take a plunge and all investors would transfer their assets to either Frankfort or Paris. Just now Hollande wants that the process of separation should be accelerated whereas Merkel wants to give time to adapt the Brits to their new status. Hollande fears the nationalists of all kinds would begin harassing the executives to ask for referendum etc. No ways, the arrow has already took depart, and it shall never return.

  12. Whatever on Says:

    Bad formulation if ya please. All capitalist countries are heavily indebted. For instance, the US owes more than 2 trillion dollars to China and Japan, where Japan itself owes to the populace abt 200 percent of debt, the UK is immersed in debt upto the neck. So far all champions of capitalism lived with the money of other ppl by always brokering in the casino economics. Was that due to the economic pundits like Milton Friedman et al who encouraged to privatize the luscious public assets to earn more and more commissions like did Goldman Sachs to Greece by first charging around 6oom dollars as commission plus every year abt 350m dollars during 37 years. However, for Goldman Sachs the EU is nothing , but a cash cow where they found out Greece as a goat of sacrifice to bleed this country to death. So if the sort of London school of economics, the MIT or Chicago school of economics teach the scholars to be the con men of the society how this planet of ours will not be dilapidated in a very near future!?!

  13. Yam Gurung on Says:


Leave a Reply