Plenary Session: Knowledge-Based Economy & Development Pathways

First NRN Global Knowledge Convention

Plenary 2: Nepal’s current state of knowledge-based economy & long-term development pathways


Date: 13 October 2018

Time: TBC

Hall: TBC 


With the advent of the new era of federal system of governance and expected political stability, Nepal’s aspiration for knowledge-based economy has been growing. Although intrinsic human capital is rising, tremendous knowledge gaps still exit which are impediments to long-term

development goals. A large population of diaspora is capable and willing to fill some of these gaps. In this context, this session will discuss alternative development pathways that can utilize both in-house and diaspora knowledge and expertise pool to move towards knowledge-based economy. 


Focus: Knowledge-based economy, knowledge gaps, long-term development goals, utilization of diaspora resources.


Background: Nepal has entered into a new era of the federal system of governance. There is also an expectation of political stability for next several years, means, we have potentials to provide consistent policy signals which has been a major past challenge. Our in-country human capital is improving. There is presence of large Nepalese diaspora willing to support Nepal on knowledge, technology and finance. Our infrastructure and capacity for information and knowledge access, and our ability to translate them for development is rapidly rising. Therefore, our aspiration for prosperity and development, which has become much repeated phrase in recent times, must now hinge on knowledge-based economy. Knowledge-based economy aspires to better integrate ‘knowledge’ and ‘technology’ in economic growth going one step ahead of the traditional growth policies and practices. Knowledge-based economy, at one hand must root in evidence-based policies and programs, and in other hand, must embrace emerging drivers, such as, greater access to information and knowledge system due to digitalization for economic growth[1]. Key pillars of knowledge-based economy[2] are: (i) Education, including building a skilled workforce; (ii) National innovation systems, including science and technology, research and development (R&D); (iii) Building networks, including ICT infrastructure and social networks; and (iv) Policy and regulatory environment.

In this context, this plenary session discusses Nepal’s development goals and aspirations and deliberate on modalities of the alternate development pathways of knowledge-economy with critically assessing them. This further elaborates the role of diaspora in translating to knowledge economy.


Themes: In line with the objectives of the First NRN Global Knowledge Convention, this session will focus on the follow key questions to be answered by invited speakers and panelists:


What should be Nepal’s long-term development goals and drivers?

  • What are/should be our development goals, 2030 and beyond? What are our development aspirations?
  • What are Nepal’s key drivers for growth (our base: natural resources, human capital; Our economic base: agriculture modernization, service sector (tourism), selective industries; our challenges: energy, infrastructure, human capital, good governance


What are alternate development pathways to reach there and role of knowledge-based economy?

  • Developmental pathways – what pathways are available to us to reach development goals; what are the pros- and -cons of different pathways; what are pre-requisites for these pathways
  • Why knowledge-based economy is needed; what we need to do? What are key instruments we need to employ


What are our opportunities for leap-frogging using knowledge-based economy for these goals and pathways?

  • Modernizing knowledge based agriculture development
  • Improving physical infrastructure
  • Innovative financial models
  • Knowledge-based decision making and governance


What are concrete immediate actions needed in view of knowledge-based economy & long-term development pathways, and how diaspora can help?


Session Structure (100 minutes)


Intro: Max 5 minutes

Two keynote speakers: 20 minutes for first and 15 minute for second

Moderated Panel Discussions: Moderator + 5 panelists (40 minutes)

Panel set up: Moderator introduces panelists and asks questions, each gets max 4 minutes to respond; moderator picks selected questions and allow second round of response max 3 minutes; moderator summarized and closes. A detail guideline to speakers will be provided.
Q&A 20 minutes


Program Schedule

Plenary 2: Knowledge-based Economy & Development Pathways
13 October 2018, 11:10-12:50, Megha Hall
Moderator: Dr Shobhakar Dhakal
11:10-11:30InvitedRabindra Adhikari, Hon'bleNepal’s development plan and knowledge-economy: Where do we stand? Where do we want to reach? Goals and pathwaysMinister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of
11:30-11:50InvitedBindu Nath Lohani, DrAsia’s development experiences: what that means for NepalFormer Vice President, Asian Development
11:50-12:40Panel discussion and Q&ABaburam Bhattarai, Hon'ble DrFormer Prime Minister of
Swarnim Wagle, DrFormer Vice Chairman, National Planning Commission,
Yankila Sherpa, MrsFormer State Minister of Tourism and Civil
Upendra Mahato, DrNRNA Founding President,
12:40-12:50SummaryShobhakar Dhakal, Dr Department Head, Department of Energy, Environment & Climate Change, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok,


Presentation of Bindu N. Lohani


Contact Information of the Plenary CoordinatorDr Shobhakar Dhakal, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand (


[1] See here for much simpler definition:; see here for Asian experience and good practices for knowledge-economy in six Asian countries (page no 22); OECD report,