By Sarita Sapkota, Samriddhi
In the annual Asia Liberty Forum in Malaysia this year, Atlas Network presented the Asia Liberty Award to Samriddhi for its ‘Econ-ity’ initiative. As part of Atlas’ Regional Liberty Awards, The Asia Liberty Award recognizes think tanks within the Atlas Network that have made important contributions to improving the landscape for enterprise and entrepreneurship in their regions. Through the award, Econ-ity was specially appreciated for the success it has brought about in advocating for and having an impact on energy sector reforms and investment policy reforms in the area of foreign investment in Nepal.
These reform efforts include pressuring the government to remove the minimum investment requirement in its recent foreign investment policies to allow small entrepreneurs to receive smaller investments and technology transfer from foreign companies as well as the establishment of a hydropower trade agreement with India that creates a more optimistic environment for investors in the sector. CIPE has been partnering with Samriddhi on several research and advocacy projects in both areas over the years.
“Econ-ity” (meaning economic policy), started as Samriddhi’s effort to reinforce public participation in policy change discussion in Nepal. Policy discussions in Nepal often do not make it to the public domain in a way where the citizens have a real chance at influencing change. It has become even more difficult in the past two decades as local government elections have not taken place for the past fourteen years given the instability Nepali politics has been facing. Therefore, Econ-ity was created as a platform where the discussion that typically takes places in the government and bureaucracy could be extended to the public domain.
The first part of Econ-ity is a live-audience forum for providing economic analysis and discussion of economic challenges facing Nepal. Speakers of diverse or even contesting point of views are invited to share their opinions and present evidence. The discussion focuses on the most relevant contemporary issues in Nepal’s economic discourse.
The second part is a blog, attempted to create continuous discussion through a virtual platform. Based on media scanning and reporting, Samriddhi picks up latest issues and provide an analysis from a political and economic perspective. People who are not a part of the organization are also encouraged to provide opinion pieces time and again.
Samriddhi only very recently concluded a largely successful public economic discourse with Dr. Eamonn Butler of Adam Smith Institute, UK. To find out more about this discussion, click here!
Sarita Sapkota is Communication and Development Coordinator at Samriddhi.