ABOUT NEF

Nepal Economic Forum (NEF) is a not for profit organization aiming to be Nepal’s premier private sector led economic policy and research institution. Established in 2009 as a not-for-profit organization under the beed umbrella, NEF is a thought center that is working on strengthening the Nepali economy through various activities that promote the growth of an efficient and inclusive private sector. NEF has been featured in the list of Top Think Tanks in Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports since 2016.

Nepal Economic forum has four verticals – Business and Policy Research Center, Incubation Programs, Doing Business in Federated Nepal and Development Consulting.

Advisory Board

Arnico Panday

Advisory Board Member

Arnico Panday

Dr. Arnico Panday is an atmospheric scientist and educator with long experience working on the interface between the science and policy of climate change, air pollution, and sustainable development. 

Born to a Swiss mother and a Nepali father, Arnico grew up primarily in Nepal before heading to the United States for higher education. He earned a Bachelor’s degree with the highest honors in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Doctor of Science  (Sc.D.) in Atmospheric Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was guided by Ronald G. Prinn and Nobel Laureate Mario Molina.

Arnico then spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University. From 2009 onwards he served on the faculty of the University of Virginia before moving back to Nepal. Until January 2020 he was Regional Programme Manager of the Atmosphere Programme at ICIMOD (the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal), where he built up and led a team working on research, mitigation, and policy of air pollution and climate change across Nepal and its neighboring countries. He initiated Bhutan’s and Nepal’s air pollution monitoring networks; set up high-altitude climate observatories; was a key author of assessment reports on the Hindukush-Himalaya and the Asia-Pacific, led the team that reduced emissions from brick kilns in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal; mentored PhD and Masters students; ran training courses; worked to influence policy from local to global levels. He has written four dozen scientific publications and three dozen articles for the general public.

Arnico has served on the Steering Committee of the UN’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition, on the advisory group of the Asia Pacific Clean Air Partnership, and on several taskforces of the Government of Nepal. He continues to serve on the Expert Working Group of the Government of Nepal’s Sagarmatha Sambaad high-level dialogue, the Governing Council of Future Earth South Asia, the Advisory Group of the Asia Co-Benefits Partnership at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Japan, and the Advisory Board of Nepal Economic Forum. In 2002 Arnico was one of two authors of the Sustainable Development Agenda for Nepal synthesis report, and in 2017 he was one of three authors of the National Planning Commission’s Envisioning Nepal 2030 draft that was published in Nepal SDG Status and Roadmap 2016-2030. Between 2011 and 2017 Arnico advised MIT and the Government of Rwanda in the planning and establishment of Rwanda Climate Observatory at Mt. Mugugo – Africa’s first observatory to comprehensively measure all climate-altering substances in the atmosphere. 

Since February 2020 Arnico is the CEO of Ullens Education Foundation, which is building Nepal’s first residential liberal arts college, designing a curriculum to train 21st-century leaders in a campus that will be a model of sustainable design. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Kul Chandra Gautam

Advisory Board Member

Kul Chandra Gautam

Mr. Kul Chandra Gautam is a distinguished international civil servant, development professional, public policy expert, and human rights activist. He was a United Nations official for over three decades, serving in several important capacities, including as Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF.

He has extensive experience in international diplomacy, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. He serves in the Boards of a number of national and international organizations and public-private partnerships dealing with public health, education, and the well-being of women and children. He got his higher education in international relations and development economics at Dartmouth College and Princeton University in USA.

Mahendra Krishna Shrestha

Advisory Board Member

Mahendra Krishna Shrestha

Mahendra Krishna Shrestha is the Chairman of Himalayan General Insurance. He has been involved in the financial sector in Nepal for over two decades. He has led and helped shape some leading organizations in insurance and banking; for example starting Himalayan General Insurance Company in 1993 to leading the reform process for Lumbini Bank Ltd.

Over the years he has been involved in a number of additional sectors including hydropower, telecommunications, health and media. In addition to being a part of all major local chambers of commerce, he has also served as president of Nepal Britain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He brings a varied and holistic perspective to the economic development conversation based on his business background as well as a broad range of additional experience such as serving on the Board of Governors of Welham Boys’ School, India and seeing the inextricable connection between education policy and national development. He has a Masters’ degree holder from Delhi School of Economics.

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Prativa Pandey

Advisory Board Member

Prativa Pandey

Dr. Prativa Pandey, Founder/CEO of Catalyst Technology and Herveda Botanicals, is a researcher and a science entrepreneur.  Her research is focused on the value addition of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Nepal. She is a researcher at Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology and a visiting faculty at RECAST, TU, and has published several research reports, articles, and holds three US patents.

Prativa is a council member in STI Policy Implementation and Promotion Council, and a member of the High-level Industry and Investment Policy Forum, Ministry of Industry Commerce and Supplies, Nepal. She co-founded Daayitwa. Nepal Public Service Fellowship in 2012.  She also co-founded two platforms for women and young scientists, Women Scientists Forum Nepal (WSFN) and Young Scientists Forum Nepal (YSFN), in the initiation of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).  She is an active member of the Intellectual Property Protection Society Nepal. She received the prestigious UNESCO-OWSD Early Career Fellowship 2019 and NAST-NABIL Science and Technology Award 2019 in recognition of her leadership and excellence in STEM.

Shankar Sharma

Advisory Board Member

Shankar Sharma

Dr. Shankar Sharma is Former Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission and a Former Nepali Ambassador to the United States of America. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Hawaii. He has extensive experience working in government, international institutions and economic research. Before joining the National Planning Commission as a Member in 1997, he worked as a Senior Economic Advisor, Ministry of Finance, Nepal; a Senior Economist in the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore; and a Fellow in the East-West Center, Hawaii. He has also worked as a lead consultant to the Constitution Committee on “Distribution of Natural Resources, Economic Rights and Public Revenue” in helping to draft the new Constitution of Nepal.

He has had hands-on experience at the field level, as an international consultant in Laos, Bhutan, and India. He also worked as a consultant expert in a number of national and international agencies including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and UNDP. Dr. Sharma was also an editor to ASEAN Economic Bulletin and a consultant editor to Hydrocarbon Asia, both published from Singapore for about seven years.

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Shraddha Gautam

Advisory Board Member

Shraddha Gautam

Shraddha Gautam is a young economist enthusiastic about international trade and investment in emerging markets. She holds a Master’s degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is an alum of Nepal Economic Forum and currently works as a Consultant at the World Bank.

Sneh Rajbhandari

Advisory Board Member

Sneh Rajbhandari

Sneh Rajbhandari is the Communications Director at Curves n’ Colors, a private company working in the nexus of art, design & technology to optimize online presence for brands. She worked as the Director of Communications with Ullens Education Foundation for a year, working closely with the Leadership Team at the Ullens Kindergarten, School & IBDP to deepen communications and relationships within the community during the time of the pandemic. She worked as the PAC Manager for Coca-Cola India Pvt. Ltd, managing stakeholder engagement, sustainability (TCCF, water replenishment, recycling), and brand PR on behalf of the INSWA BU. She started her professional career in the development sector,
 as the Programs Manager & Co-Founder of INCLUDED, a non-profit working to provide education and social services to internal migrant families living in slums and squatter settlements. She is interested in issues related to strategic communications, sustainability, public-private partnership & women in the workforce.

She was nominated as a Global Shaper for the Kathmandu Hub in 2014, due to her work with the local community through INCLUDED, and became
the Curator for the Hub in 2015 where she also co-led the largest project of the hub to date. She is currently a member of the WEF RSB for South Asia where she is part of the working group focused on Accelerating Digital Transformation for Education & SMEs; and a Board Member of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Nepal.

Executive Board

Alpa Badani Shakya

Executive Board Member

Alpa Badani Shakya

Alpa Shakya has over two decades of work experience in various sectors such as the hospitality industry, travel & tourism, medical research & services, events, and development organizations. Some organizations that Alpa got to work with are Hotel Soaltee, Everest Express Tours & Travels, King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Himalaya Tea Gardens, CIWEC Clinic, World Wildlife Fund, Mountain Air, DANIDA, Shechen Clinic, etc. Alpa’s career began in audit, finance, and accounting, and transitioned successfully to operations, procurements, and management. The changeover led her to do what she loves: professionally helping organize individuals and businesses. 

In 2012, Alpa created GO Nepal, a business that provides professional support to individuals, local and foreign corporates, small and medium enterprises, start-up business ventures as well as not-for-profit and charitable foreign entities wanting to work in Nepal. GO Nepal clients include Beed Management, Tai Ping Carpets Hongkong, Baabuk Shoes Switzerland, Everest Bank Nepal, Timro Concept Store Nepal, Child Aid Network Germany, Evoke Café & Bistro Nepal, 6 Degree academy for women, etc. Alpa loves to mentor young minds and help them with their career and business goals.

Chandni Singh

Executive Board Member

Chandni Singh

Chandni is a development professional with over 10 years of experience in the design and management of programs in the areas of private sector development, capacity building, and economic research. Chandni is currently the Assistant Investment Manager at Dolma Consulting where she manages investment climate reform and private sector support programs. She provides strategic direction to Prabhav (Splash) Nepal, Tewa, and Nepal Economic Forum through her board positions. Chandni has an MBA from the South Asian Institute of Management, Nepal, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and politics from Mt. Holyoke College, USA.

Shayasta Tuladhar

Executive Board Member

Shayasta Tuladhar

Shayasta is a communication and development professional with progressive experience in corporate and development communications. She brings a decade of experience in communication strategy and versatile content creation through a fundraising and advocacy lens. Leveraging on her engagement in a wide gamut of creative communication roles she is engaged as an Executive Board Member at Nepal Economic Forum and Accountability Lab. She currently heads the communications and education department at WWF Nepal and formerly anchored the Business Policy Research Center at Nepal Economic Forum. Shayasta is an MBA graduate from the Australian Catholic University, Sydney, and has authored multiple reports and publications during her decade-long career.

Sudip Bhaju

Executive Board Member

Sudip Bhaju

Sudip Bhaju is a management consultant with over 15 years of experience working in the private sector. He has worked and managed projects in countries such as Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Laos, and Rwanda.

He has led many of Beed’s development and management consultancy projects and has extensive experience providing advisory services, technical assistance, and capacity building to government agencies, private sector, and development partners through analytics (economic impact assessments, investment feasibility, sectoral studies, and market research), policy dialogue, and reform strategy design.

He brings extensive implementation experience in promoting private sector-led growth through country competitiveness, entrepreneurship development, financial inclusion, investment climate, market systems development, public–private dialogue, and policy reform.

He is a recipient of the fellowships awarded by the United States Department of State for the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) – Global Economy and Trade, and the Government of India for the Emerging Leaders Program at India’s leading business school, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

Sujeev Shakya

Founder/Chair

Sujeev Shakya

Sujeev Shakya, is a Thought Leader in the field of business and economic development. He combines his diverse academic pursuits with extensive experience across various industries and organizations. He writes and speaks regularly on business, economy, leadership and management and is author of the bestseller Unleashing Nepal – Past, Present and Future of the Economy (Penguin), used extensively as a ready reckoner to understand Nepal’s economic paradigm.

The Team

Apekshya Shah

Senior Fellow

Apekshya Shah

Apekshya Shah is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Tribhuvan University. She has been teaching several modules of the Master’s program at the Department since 2014. Her core areas of expertise are diplomacy, foreign policy, and public policy. Prior to this, she was the Opinion Editor of the Kathmandu Post, the leading English daily of Nepal. 

She holds a Postgraduate degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy from City, University of London, and a Bachelors (with honors) degree in Political Science from Delhi University. Last year she was selected as a Distinguished Humphrey fellow by the United States Department of State for a Leadership Program under which she attended an Executive Education Course on “Leadership for the 21st Century” at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Apekshya is the technical lead of “Nepal and the World”, an incubation program under Nepal Economic Forum that aims to explore Nepal’s foreign policy and diplomacy in the context of a globalized world and support public debates in the field of foreign affairs especially in relations to the economy.

Ashraya Dixit

Senior Fellow

Ashraya Dixit

Ashraya explores the development, use, and impact of market-ready technological solutions in developing markets. He engages to build innovation as a firm’s strategic objective, shape objectives to global trends and opportunities, and accelerate firms to become technology-enabled services. Previously, Ashraya was in Boston’s investment industry covering global stocks and driving research on disruptive and responsible investment themes. Earlier, he helped a multi-family office find best-in-class fund managers across asset classes. Ashraya has a Master of International Business from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from Grinnell College. 

Ashraya is the technical lead of Center for Digital Transformation, an incubation program under Nepal Economic Forum that addresses cross-cutting themes related to digital adoption and revolution in emerging and frontier markets of Asia and Africa.

Bibhakar Shakya

Senior Distinguished Fellow

Bibhakar Shakya

Dr. Bibhakar Shakya has worked for over 25 years collaborating projects with international organizations, development aid agencies, public sectors, and private industries in the USA, Qatar, and Nepal.  He has accomplished projects primarily in energy-economic modeling, economic impact analysis, labor policy and green jobs, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development.

Currently, he is working as a Senior Economist and Principal Consultant based in Richmond, Virginia. Previously, he worked as a Senior Economist and Policy Expert at the Program Management Office, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Doha, Qatar, that managed the infrastructural development for the World Cup 2022 that included eight football stadiums, transportation, and hospitality sectors in Doha.

His interests also involve working passionately in social projects with a mission of “Giving Back to the Community and Country,” mainly in Arts, Culture/Heritage, and Education for Special Needs Children.

Chandan Sapkota

Senior Fellow

Chandan Sapkota

Chandan Sapkota is an economist with over eight years of experience in macroeconomic analysis, trade and development. He regularly contributes economic and political analysis focusing on Nepal and India to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and analytical opinion articles to The Kathmandu Post. Sapkota worked as an economics officer at Asian Development Bank, Nepal Resident Mission; a researcher at South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment; a junior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; and an op-ed columnist for Republica. He also worked as a consultant for Ministry of Commerce & Supplies (Government of Nepal), CIM-GIZ, UNDP, and FAO among others.

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Diva Shrestha

Senior Fellow

Diva Shrestha

Diva Shrestha’s professional journey includes eight years of senior leadership roles in admissions and financial aid offices at Nazareth College, Bucknell University, and Colby College in the U.S. As the Director at Nepal Leadership Academy, an organization demystifying the definition of leadership through teaching and research, she lived the realities of building an organization from the ground up. 

She is passionate about developing the leadership capabilities of change agents and believes that change is only effective if citizens from different generations, genders, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds co-define the country’s evolving perspectives. She is particularly interested in studying and identifying leadership practices that inculcate behavior and mindset change towards progress and impact.

Diva is the technical lead of Global Nepali Network, an incubation program under Nepal Economic Forum, a platform that aims to connect Global Nepalis irrespective of citizenship across the world that do not enjoy the political organizations, elections, and speeches but love their personal connection to Nepal or Nepalis.

Giuseppe Savino

Senior Distinguished Fellow

Giuseppe Savino

Giuseppe Savino is a specialist in migration policies. He builds on his experience in the field of South Asia’s labor migration to propose implementable solutions addressing dysfunctionalities affecting migrants’ recruitment processes. With over thirty years of professional experience in investment banking and financial markets, he shifted his area of expertise to migration policy in 2014, mainly by developing financial solutions for migrants with a view to reducing the cost of migration.

As a labor migration consultant, he has worked with UKaid Nepal, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) both in Nepal and Bangladesh, and with other major national and international migration stakeholders. His work addresses topics ranging from migration market inefficiencies leading to over-indebtedness and destitution to migrants’ socio-economic reintegration in their country of origin. As a policy advisor, he has worked closely with various governments to develop improved migration regulation, including cost reduction and positive use of remittances.

Giuseppe Savino has a Postgraduate Degree in International Politics obtained with Magna Cum Laude (Grande Distinction) at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and a university degree in economics from the Centre Universitaire Luxembourgeois. He is the founder of ‘Migration Protocol’, a consultancy firm specializing in migration.

Mark Perrin

Senior Fellow

Mark Perrin

Mark Perrin has served for 17 years leading teams and planning operations globally as a former officer in the UK’s Royal Marines. His areas of expertise include strategy, operational planning, dealing with complexity, leadership, and personnel development.  After a brief stint in the private sector, focused on operations management for PricewaterhouseCoopers, he traveled to Nepal in 2019.

Currently studying for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development at Sussex, Mark is passionate about sustainable issues, particularly related to society and the environment.  He is the technical lead for Himalayan Circular Economy Forum, an incubation program under NEF that aims to explore existing circular economy practices, investment opportunities for knowledge dissemination, replication, and how they can be advanced in Nepal.

Samridhi Pant

Coordinator

Samridhi Pant

Samridhi Pant is a Political Economist who has been studying the transition process of Nepal from unitary to federated structure from a private sector perspective. She has worked on multiple projects entailing challenges in the collaboration that the private sector and the government agencies are facing in light of federalism and interventions that could be the potential solutions to smoothen their partnerships. Additionally, she has led several assignments ranging in scope from value chain analyses, enterprise development, socio-economic impact assessment, sectoral studies, and policy analysis. She is the coordinator of Nepal Economic Forum.

Suman Basnet

Senior Distinguished Fellow

Suman Basnet

Suman Basnet is a renewable energy and management professional with over 33 years of experience. Since 2012, he has undertaken independent consulting assignments on project design, assessment, situation analysis, research, capacity building, and facilitation. He has worked extensively for development, government, and private organizations on policy, governance, and institutional aspects of Nepal’s renewable energy sector. Previously, he was the Nepal Social and Environment Director of SN Power, an international hydropower company based in Norway, Director of the Energy Program in Winrock International Nepal, Deputy General Manager at Butwal Power Company, and Energy Development Advisor at the UNDP/Rural Energy Development Programme.

Suman is the technical lead of Renewable Energy Center, an incubation program under Nepal Economic Forum that aims to be the premier platform for mainstreaming renewable energy issues by engaging multiple stakeholders to articulate discourse that will shape national-level energy policies.

Nepal Economic Forum is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal

P.O. Box 7025
Krishna Galli
Lalitpur-3, Nepal