Overview

  • Last updated: April 2017

    In its first year, the new government led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has launched new economic policies, finalized new health and educations sector strategies, stated new priorities such as nutrition and rural development, and accelerated efforts for the peace process. There are opportunities to further deepen reforms, create shared prosperity for all, and for the country to resume its place as one of the most dynamic economies in Asia.

    As the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, Myanmar has one of the lowest population densities in the region, with fertile lands, significant potential to increase its production, yields and profits in agriculture, and a rich endowment of natural resources. Its geographic location at the intersection of China and India, two of the world’s most dynamic economies, makes it well positioned to resume its traditional role as a regional trading hub and a key supplier of minerals, natural gas and agricultural produce.

    Economic growth in Myanmar is expected to moderate from 7.3 percent in 2015-2016 to 6.5 percent in 2016-2017. The pace of recovery in agriculture from the floods of 2015 was hampered by longstanding productivity constraints in the sector. Medium-term growth is currently projected to average 7.1 percent per year.

    Poverty in Myanmar is concentrated in rural areas, where poor people rely on agricultural and casual employment for their livelihoods. Many live near the poverty line and are sensitive to economy-wide shocks. The World Bank team has conducted a poverty analysis jointly with the government of Myanmar using recently collected household data. The analysis shows that poverty has declined between 2009-2010 and 2015. The assessment, however, signals that poverty remains substantial.

    Among ASEAN countries, Myanmar has the lowest life expectancy and the second-highest rate of infant and child mortality. Just one-third of the population has access to the electricity grid and road density remains low at 219.8 kilometers per 1,000 square kilometers of land area. With the recent liberalization of the telecommunications sector, mobile and internet penetration has increased significantly from less than 20 percent and 10 percent in 2014, to 60 percent and 25 percent respectively.  Establishing a credible and consistent policy and regulatory environment in the telecommunications sector can help ensure steady private investments and growth.

  • Last updated: April 2017

    The World Bank Group (WBG) has carried out a Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the current Country Partnership Framework (CPF) to introduce changes to the program in response to lessons learned and changes in country circumstances. The CPF is extended by two years until 2019, and the WBG has worked together to develop a partnership which is aligned with the vision of the new government of Myanmar and reflects Myanmar’s views on how the WBG can be best supportive. The WBG will continue to focus to support rural development through agriculture and national community driven development programs; build human capital by improving nutrition and expanding access to better health and education; boost private sector-led jobs, by improving access to electricity, major bottlenecks to firms’ expansion, and supporting macroeconomic stability and business climate reforms.

    Three major focus areas are:

    Reducing rural poverty. At least 70 percent of Myanmar’s poor live in rural areas, reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity will entail increasing access to essential services, economic opportunities and markets. The WBG is providing support to help increase agricultural incomes and productivity, rural electrification, community-driven investments in local infrastructure and services, improve Ayeyarwady River navigation and flood control, and reduce vulnerability to shocks.

    Investing in people and effective institutions for people. Successful empowerment and inclusion will depend on citizens who are able to make a better future for themselves and on transparent institutions that allow people to do so. The WBG is providing targeted support to help Myanmar approach universal access to and improve the quality of essential social services, especially health and education and, over time, skills development to empower people to participate in a growing economy. The WBG also provides support for state institutions to deliver services effectively, including at the local level. This support is expected to contribute to improved governance in selected sectors as well as more broadly for the people of Myanmar.

    Supporting a dynamic private sector to create jobs. Reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity will entail diversification beyond extractive-based industries. Increased openness and integration will result in higher growth as labor reallocates to more productive sectors and trade drives innovation and productivity. The WBG is helping to foster inclusive growth and a vibrant private sector that will create jobs through investments and support for markets, trade and modern financial institutions.

  • Last updated: April 2017

    The World Bank is supporting the implementation of the National Community-Driven Development Project (NCDDP) that aim to empower villagers to choose, plan, build, and monitor small infrastructure projects that communities need most, such as bridges, roads, health clinics, and schools. Scheduled to run until 2021, the project is expected to reach about 7 million people in rural communities across Myanmar. Currently the project is operating in 8,800 villages in 47 townships, home to over 5.4 million people. In the first three years of implementation, there are 6,770 subprojects, including 1,460 school rehabilitation or renovations, and over 2,300 km of foot path and access roads.

    The World Bank is providing financial and technical support to the Ministry of Education to implement the Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project, which include student stipends and schools grants program. The stipends program benefits 37,000 students in 2014-2015, more than 100,000 in 2015-2016 and more than 150,000 students in 2016-2017. The school grants program helped improve flow and use of resources as well as community participation and oversight.

    In support of Myanmar’s aspiration for Universal Health Coverage, the World Bank has mobilized financing, global expertise, and knowledge services to support strengthening of Myanmar’s health system, namely health financing, with the aim of improving coverage of essential health services and increasing financial risk protection. The first type of support is the Essential Health Services Access Project, with the objective of increasing access to essential services, especially for pregnant women, newborns and children. This is a nation-wide project with expected benefits to reach within four years 4 million pregnant women and young children in all 330 townships in 14 states and regions.

    The World Bank is also supporting the National Electrification Project (NEP) which aims to provide 7.2 million households with electricity and achieve universal access to electricity by 2030. The NEP calls for investments of $5.8 billion over the next 15 years to expand national and off-grid areas. To support NEP implementation, the World Bank approved $400 million IDA loan in late 2015 to Myanmar. With IDA funds, 6.2 million people, 23,000 public facilities (health clinics, schools, and religious and other community buildings) and 151,000 public street lights will be connected.

    Under the Agricultural Development Support Project, the World Bank is providing support to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation to increase incomes of 120,000 farmers through improvement and rehabilitation of 35,000 hectares of existing irrigation systems, better management of land and water resources, and the delivery of agricultural services by 2022. IDA provided $100 million in April 2015 to achieve the project objectives in Bago, Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, and Sagaing Regions of Myanmar.

    The WBG is contributing to informed debate and decision-making on development policy within a rapidly changing Myanmar by periodically bringing most recent economic data and analysis on development issues to government policy makers, think tanks, civil society and citizens. The WBG also release Myanmar Economic Monitors which look at economic developments and reforms twice a year.

    The WBG is also undertaking analytical and diagnostic works including agriculture, energy, poverty assessment, trade and nutrition. The WBG has released a number of studies including Myanmar’s first ever Public Expenditure Review which provides options to  align Union Budget policies to development priorities, Qualitative Social and Economic Monitoring on changes in rural life and livelihoods, the Investment Climate Assessment which reviews the main bottlenecks to private investment and job creation in Myanmar, and Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA) to highlight the extent of damage to the economy affected by severe, widespread floods and landslides occurred in July and August 2015 in Myanmar.

    The WBG prepared six policy notes presenting policy options to increase shared prosperity in Myanmar and help inform the design of economic and social programs of the new administration. Through extensive dissemination efforts, the WBG has helped inform policy and strategy on issues such as expanding access to social services, reducing rural poverty, enhancing competiveness of the private sector, promoting an inclusive financial sector, and ensuring sustainable energy and enhanced public sector accountability.

    IFC, the private sector development arm of the WBG, helps government implement reforms that improve the business environment and encourage and retain investment in infrastructure, financial sector and in sectors which create jobs. IFC has focused on improving the investment climate in Myanmar, both through regulatory reforms (e.g. draft new Investment Law, Myanmar Business Forum, Doing Business reform, Credit Bureau, Secured Transactions Reform, Corporate Governance, and Environment and Social Sustainability Performance Standards) and support for infrastructure, including power, telecom, and ports.

    IFC has invested more than $410 million in the information, transportation, tourism, construction, agro-business, agro-business, retail, and finance sectors in Myanmar. It is also supporting Myanmar’s energy sector. IFC has successfully grown its financial markets program by investing in two local banks, Yoma Bank and Myanmar Oriental Bank, and two MFIs, Acleda and Fullerton, with work in progress to expand more its portfolio in the micro-finance sector. IFC’s engagement with local banks and microfinance institutions will help expand access to critical finance for individuals and micro, small, and medium enterprises. IFC Treasury team is finalizing the agreement with the local bank to establish swap facility in order to provide local currency lending. 

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Myanmar: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

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Empowering Communities for Local Development

The Myanmar National Community Development Project (NCDDP) has put people at the center of decision-making.

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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi: To End Poverty, We All Have to Join In

Suu Kyi asked donor and borrower governments gathered for a meeting of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.

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Electricity to Transform Myanmar

More than 7.2 million homes will have access to electricity by 2030 as the National Electrification Plan is implemented.

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Teacher Aye Aye’s Dream: Education for All in Myanmar

Teacher Aye Aye, who is from Myanmar, believes that school is a special place--it's where students discover their talents.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Yangon Office
No.57, Pyay Road,
6 1/2 Mile,
Hlaing Township,
Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: +95 1 654824
myanmar@worldbank.org
Washington DC
1818 H Street NW, Washington DC 20433
Tel: +1 202-473-4709
eastasiapacific@worldbank.org