Third Edition of Digital Nepal Conclave Concludes: Commitment from PrimeMinister to KP Sharma Oli for Digital Nepal

Enepalese Published on: June 9, 2024

The third edition of the Digital Nepal Conclave 2024, organized by ICT Foundation Nepal, has concluded. The event, held last Friday at the Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, saw the participation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister, and former Prime Minister. The program, focused on the theme of coordination between digitization and development of Digital Nepal, featuring five panel sessions and over ten presentations.

The program included presentations and panel sessions on topics such as Digital Public Infrastructure, Sustainable Telecommunications for Digital Transformation, Innovative Technologies for Development, Digital Empowerment and Inclusion, Digital Governance and Data for Development, and Digital Economy and Investment for Digital Nepal. Separate power dialogue sessions were conducted with the former Prime Minister Hon’ble KP Sharma Oli, and Hon’ble Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ms. Rekha Sharma. Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Mr. Barsha Man Pun addressed the digital economy and ICT in the new fiscal years’ budget.

Inaugurating the conclave, Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ identified information technology as a key area for achieving social justice, good governance, and economic prosperity, highlighting the top most priority given to the sector in the budget. “We are working to advance information technology as a carrier of the economy,” said Prime Minister Dahal. “We have declared this decade for information technology and have made fiscal year 2081/82 B.S. as the starting point of it. The government’s goal is to create 1.5 million jobs in the next 10 years, including 500 thousand direct and 1 million indirect jobs, and export worth 3 trillion rupees.”

Prime Minister emphasized the need to advance development and prosperity through maximum utilization of information technology, noting the progress made in a short period despite efforts to establish a narrative that nothing happens in Nepal.

In the Power Dialogue National Leadership Session, former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli highlighted his focus on technology-friendly service delivery and infrastructure development during his tenure. Oli criticized subsequent governments for not prioritizing the transformative plans such as the Digital Nepal Framework and the Nagarik App initiated five years ago, citing policy inconsistencies and distraction for trivial matter like that of TikTok.

Addressing recent corruption in the ICT sector, Oli remarked, “People from remote areas don’t come and engage in CT corruption; it is done by those who are knowledgeable”. He stressed the importance of supporting startups and innovation, saying, “In today’s era, loans should not be given by mortgaging property, house, or land; so that innovative people without money can also achieve extraordinary success”.

In her speech during the Power Dialogue session, Hon’ble Minister of Communication and Information
Technology; Ms. Rekha Sharma mentioned the enthusiastic environment created in the field of information and communication technology. She emphasized the collective effort of the government and the private sector in advancing information technology. Similarly, Hon’ble Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun identified information technology as a transformative sector capable of driving the economy, stating that the government has included programs in the budget accordingly.

Mr. Himal Karmacharya, President of Leapfrog Technology Inc., delivered the keynote presentation on Driving Digitalization and Development. Karmacharya suggested prioritizing local companies, starting small, and focusing on mobile-centric services. He also noted the capability of Nepali IT companies to provide world-class services. Mr. Razan Lamsal, President of ICT Foundation, welcomed attendees, pointing out the implementation challenges despite the introduction of programs in the budget, hindering the coordination between digitization and development.

The conclave, centered on the theme of Harmonizing Digitalization and Development, featuring notable speakers including Hon’ble Member of House of Representatives, Nepal, Ms. Sobita Gautam, Hon’ble Member of National Planning Commission Dr. Ram Kumar Phuyal, Mayor of Ghorahi Municipality Mr. Naru Lal Chaudhary, CEO of Ncell Axiata Limited Mr. Jaoobor Kayumov, Vice President of CNI Mr. Hemraj Dhakal, Executive Director of IIDS Dr. Biswas Gauchan, Spokesperson of Nepal Rastra Bank Dr. Gunakar Bhatta, Chairperson of WorldLink Communications Mr. Dileep Agrawal, and Former Minister of Karnali Province Mr. Krishna Bahadur G.C. among others. Patrons of the conclave included former minister Ganesh Shah, ICT expert Mr. Manohar Kumar Bhattarai, Prof. Dr. Subarna Shakya, Prof. Dr. Manish Pokharel, and Mr. Birendra Mishra, who shared their views on the conclusions and necessary efforts in various sessions.

Presentations on Digital Public Infrastructure were given by two speakers, Under Secretary, Mr. Subhash Dhakal and CEO of Nepal Clearing House, Mr. Neelesh Man Pradhan, while the presentation on Digital Governance wasmade by Ms. Sneha Shah, Senior Program Officer at D4D, The Asia Foundation and Mr. Dipesh Bista, CEO of E- Governance Commission. The session on Digital Economy featured a presentation by President of NAS-IT Mr.Richan Shrestha. Ncell’s CRLO Mr. Vishal Mani Upadhyay and advocate Anup Uprety from Pioneer Law Associates presented in the session on Sustainable Telecommunication and Policies for Digital Transformation.

Additionally, the conclave showcased over 20 digital initiatives. Over twelve ideas pitched their concepts on various digital initiatives and technologies in different sectors of Digital Nepal, including GeoKrishi, Koili Financial Services, Odoo Enterprise Digital Health, Riri AI, Integrated Municipal System, Kacific Satellite, One Point API Management, Pumori NextGen, Nagarik App, UNDP’s E-Building Permit, One Stop Service Delivery, and Nizi Power by Yarsa.

The conclave, organized as the year’s major technology conference, saw the participation of over 600
representatives from federal, provincial, and local governments, stakeholders, experts, private institutions,
entrepreneurs and startups. The event also included representatives from tech companies from various countries participating in presentations and discussions.

The program, organized in association with Ncell and powered by The Asia Foundation, was supported by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Nepal Telecommunications Authority, Nepal Telecom, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNDP, Smarten Technology, Nabil Bank, Global IME Bank, eSewa, InfoDevelopers, Huawei, IME Pay, Broadway, Technorio, and Bitscraft.
Since the publication of the Digital Nepal Framework by the Government of Nepal in 2019 A.D., the foundation has been organizing annual Digital Nepal Conclaves and regional samvads (dialogues) and conclaves. The foundation’s activities aimed at improving the digital ecosystem and transformation include reports, research, and programs, with full details and videos available on the website