One of the least developed nations in the world, Nepal ranks 157th among 187 countries in the Human Development Index. After peaking at 5.8 percent in 2008, gross domestic product has been averaging only 4 percent since.
The unstable political climate has made it difficult for Nepal to sustain inclusive development. Although civil strife ended in 2006, sporadic tensions continue to break out in the country. Several bomb blasts and other acts of violence rocked the nation in the run-up to and on the day of the national elections in November 2013.
As such, although the country is well on its way to meeting some of its Millennium Development Goals, progress in other areas such as infrastructure is sorely lacking. For instance, the country has enough resources to produce nearly 1,600 megawatts of hydropower, but its existing infrastructure can only yield 705 megawatts.
And while the country is on track to halving poverty by 2015, socioeconomic inequality remains widely present among different ethnic, geographic and social groups.