There is a lot we can learn from Nepal. The very beautiful and sometimes considered mystic country could not have more orthogonal dimensions. Nepal is at the very low end of the GDP list, is unfortunately high up on the list of “perceived corruption”, is a nation with the one of the most kindest people on earth, has exceptional talents, a still under developed infrastructure, is still dependant on donations from foreign countries, yet some extraordinarily ambitious people to turn the nation from a “receiver” nation into a fast emerging nation on the way to become a “giver” nation. When such a country, with a new generation of sheer infinite determination can organise to breed talents working on globally latest technology such as Artificial Intelligence, with goal to turn the nation to prosperity – we must ask shouldn’t that be possible in other countries too. We also must wonder if the combination of a new agile government, highly engaged academia, highly motivated entrepreneurs, all working together – is a superior model of the future? Or will the model of a public being permanently on confrontation course with their government, ego driven groups with nothing but steering up the nation with horror scenarios for their own good and media loving to confuse information consumer for the sake of popularity be the winner of the future?
While we, the World Innovations Forum, has pretty much all ducks in the row here in Switzerland, a very active community in San Francisco, where it all started, and a very good start recently in Bosnia, great energy in South Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Macedonia, Nigeria, and other countries, our current Role Model is Nepal. Khem Lakai our Ambassador, had by far overachieved our wildest dreams. After our first Meetup in 2018, and a good exchange during the year, Khem understood, it was important to get top technology created in Nepal. Since natural resources are limited and industrial production is not too well developed yet, competition in other countries is fierce, he decided to help stimulate tech development. Together with Ranjan Mishran, a Nepali who is studying at ETH in Zurich they inspired a team of PhDs from Zürich and other Universities to come to Nepal. The Swiss Embassy in Nepal immediately recognized the importance and supported his actions.
In nearly no time, students in Nepal are being trained and built an AI systems and have been stimulated for Entrepreneurship. With yet another group of Nepali tech enthusiast in diaspora, lead by Prof. Bishesh Khanal who decided to quit his dream job in London to move back to Kathmandu and help Nepal move forward with other very successfully tech professionals and experts in the field of AI. Khem worked closely with various entrepreneurial enthusiasts in the nation, co-sponsored national events with Nepal Tourism Board and mentored youth in politics from all different political parties to raise awareness for a “visionary leadership”: Nepal is to change the narrative of poor and sorry nation to a successful strong nation.
A few months later they invited Axel to speak with the Prime Minister Oli about the World Innovations Forum’s overall plans and also having talks with their Finance Minister Dr. Khatiwada. The power play continues this year with a first International Investors Summit in Nepal. Now Axel is preparing to attract international startup investors from the US, Germany, UK, Switzerland and maybe a few other countries to Nepal. While the country is still perceived as a rather corrupt nation, we see already Nepali Finance Minister starting to bring the legal framework in alignment with International expectations. The extraordinary journey is just in the beginning.
Khem Lakai, the World Innovations Forum Ambassador, together with his connections and a very ambitious country is making the sheer impossible a reality. It’s the concerted effort with an exceptional leadership that made this work. It was only a spark of inspiration from the World Innovations Forum, yet the highly focused, ambitious and self determined Khem Lakai did what he felt is right for Nepal, connected with likeminded people and relentlessly executed. It’s that mindset and the understanding what really makes sense for the larger part of a country that moves mountains. In the meantime a new innovation lab is in the making. Also a collaboration between another Swiss university with a Nepali University is considered to create an exchange between some top Nepali talents and Swiss talents to also shorten the distance between cultures.
Its the right time for the right action with the right people that makes a change possible. This is the spirit the World Innovations Forum is trying to embrace. Our most sincere THANK YOU to Khem and his team of equally ambitious team of exceptional people like Ranjan Mishran, Prof. Bishesh Khanal and many others to build this World Innovations Forum poster child.
Even though Khem is the prototype of a self starter, let us inspire all of you to do what is best for your country as every country is in a different situation. But we are all one world – together.