In 1990 Cuba’s GDP per capital value was higher by almost four times than that of SAARC’s most prosperous nation then – Sri Lanka. With an exception of Maldives & Afghanistan (for which data were missing), the performance of remaining five South Asian countries was even worse.
Twenty-four years later, Cuba’s GDP per capita exceeded $19,000 despite US Government’s extended economic sanctions. Among South Asian economies, Maldives had the highest GDP per capita value of $11953.59 and Afghanistan had the lowest value of $1844.02 in 2014 respectively.
During the same period, Nepal went through a decade long devastating Maoist insurgency (1996 – 2006). Moreover, the country also witnessed the fall of the Monarchy and two elections to the Constituent Assembly. During the same period, politically, Nepal remained one of the most unstable countries in the world. Between 1990 and 2016, the country saw twenty-five Prime Ministers, each occupying his office for average of about ten months only. All these factors explain why Nepal was the worst performer in terms of GDP per capita in 1990 and now remains the second worst performer among the SAARC member countries.