Overview

  • Last updated: October 2017

    Myanmar is currently in a democratic transition – the government, led by de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has launched new economic policies, finalized new health and education sector strategies, stated new priorities such as nutrition and rural development. 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. There are also challenges to achieve sustainable and inclusive peace agreement with its multiple ethnic armed organizations as well as to address the heightened tensions in Rakhine State.

    Myanmar is one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia. In 2016/17, the GDP growth eased to 5.9% due to the impact of severe flooding in 2015, in which the pace of recovery in agriculture was hampered by longstanding productivity constraints in the sector. Medium-term growth is currently projected to average 7.1% per year, mainly driven by economic reforms, public consumption and private investment.

    The World Bank conducted a poverty analysis jointly with the Government of Myanmar. Based on the method produced in the Integrated Household Living Conditions Assessment (IHLCA) reports by the government and development partners, poverty declined from 32.1% in 2004/05 to 25.6% in 2009/10 and 19.4% in 2015. A decline of a similar magnitude was registered using the World Bank’s revised estimate: poverty went down from 44.5% in 2004 to 37.5% in 2009/10 and 26.1% in 2015. The analysis shows, however, that poverty remains substantial, especially in rural areas where people rely on agricultural and casual employment for their livelihood. Those who live near the poverty line are susceptible to economic shocks.

    Among ASEAN countries, Myanmar has the lowest life expectancy and the second-highest rate of infant and child mortality. Out of every 100 children, 6.2 die before their first birthday and 7.2 before their fifth (Population and Housing Census, 2014). In terms of nutrition data, 29% of children under 5 are moderately stunted and 8% are severely stunted (DHS, 2015). The dropout rate is high, especially in rural areas where 6 out of 10 children who start grade one drop out before the end of middle school; among the poorest families, this figure is 7 in 10.

    Access to basic infrastructure and services remain a challenge in both rural and urban areas. Only one-third of the population has access to the national electricity grid while road density remains low at 219.8 kilometers per 1,000 square kilometers of land area. However, with the recent liberalization of the telecommunications sector, mobile and internet penetration has increased significantly from less than 20% and 10% in 2014, to 60% and 25% respectively.

    Myanmar is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries exposed to multiple hazards, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts, ranking 2nd out of 187 countries in the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index and 9th out of 191 countries in the INFORM Index for Risk Management.

  • Last updated: October 2017

    The World Bank Group 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 World Bank Group can best support it.

    In 2015, the World Bank Group completed its Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Myanmar, which outlines how its global knowledge, financing, and convening services can support in transforming the country, reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

    In 2017, the World Bank Group carried out a Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the strategy to introduce changes to the program in response to lessons learned and changes in country circumstances. The CPF was then extended by two years until 2019.

    In addition to the partnership with the government, the World Bank Group has collaborated with development partners, including the Department for International Development of UK Government (DFID), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the Kingdom of Denmark, and the government of Finland to establish the Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The MDTF supports the country’s transition and the implementation of the Government’s economic and social reforms programs. Activities financed through the MDTF and implemented collaboratively with partners or solely by government have seen impacts at household, community and national levels.

    The World Bank Group supports rural development through agriculture, electrification, and community driven development programs, and investments in rural roads infrastructure; building human capital by improving nutrition and expanding access to better health and education; strengthening disaster and climate resilience; boosting private sector-led jobs, by improving electricity, addressing major bottlenecks to firms’ expansion, and supporting macroeconomic stability and business climate reforms.

    Three major focus areas are:

    Reducing rural poverty. At least 70% 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 World Bank Group is providing support to help increase agricultural incomes and productivity, rural electrification, community-driven investments in local infrastructure and services, resilient rehabilitation of rural roads, reduce vulnerability to shocks, improve integrated water resources management, enhance navigation and hydro-meteorological information systems.

    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 World Bank Group 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 World Bank Group also provides support for state institutions to deliver services effectively, including at the local level, and to integrate principles of disaster and climate resilience into critical infrastructure, reduce disaster risks in Yangon City, and strengthen financial protection. 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 World Bank Group 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: October 2017

    Since the World Bank has fully reengaged with the Government of Myanmar, the Bank has been supporting reforms that will benefit all of the people of Myanmar, especially the poor and vulnerable.

    Reducing rural poverty. 5.25 million people benefited from better infrastructure such as bridges, roads, health clinics, and schools under the National Community-Driven Development Project, 2,950 kilometers of footpaths and access roads renovated or built, 450 bridges built or repaired, 1,000 schools extended or renovated, 1 million days of paid-labor. Under the National Electrification Project, an estimated 1.2 million people in rural areas have new or improved access to electricity from around 140,000 households -and community-level solar electricity systems.

    Investing in people and effective institutions for people. 150,000 students have received stipends to date, 46,500 schools received grants to improve their services under the Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project, health financing strategy has been prepared, first EITI reconciliation report published in 2016. Through the Essential Health Services Access Project, 12,156 primary health care facilities (at township and below, such as station hospitals and rural health centers, received health facility grants to improve their readiness to deliver services that are essential for maternal and child health, emergency referral, and other forms support for patients at the hospitals. The project also supports capacity building of staff (e.g., midwives from more than 100 townships were trained on emergency obstetric care and management of childhood illnesses and township medical officers and finance clerks from all 330 townships were trained on the financial management skills) and systems strengthening (e.g. adopting of an explicit package of health services, formula-based allocation of resources, health care waste management guidelines and standard operating procedures for financial management).

    Supporting a dynamic private sector to create jobs. The private sector arm of the World Bank Group, IFC, provided advisory and investment support which has facilitated a total of $1 billion in financing disbursed through 2 million microloans and 9,000 SME loans, over $1.5 billion of private sector financing through loans, equity and guarantees, new investment law enacted, mobile banking regulations issued and Myanmar Business Forum established. 

    In Rakhine state, the World Bank Group is supporting a number of programs including education, health and education that could deliver immediate benefits to the people in Rakhine. Also, the National Community Driven Development Project and the Floods and Landslide Emergency Recovery Credit Project are being implemented in the western and southern part of the state.

    The World Bank Group 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. Analytical and diagnostic works include agriculture, energy, poverty assessment, trade and nutrition. The World Bank Group has released a number of studies including An Analysis of Poverty in Myanmar which presents trends in poverty overtime,  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 inform resilient recovery following the 2015 floods and landslides. The World Bank Group also release Myanmar Economic Monitors which look at economic developments and reforms twice a year.

    IFC, the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, 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. 

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LENDING

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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Turning on the Lights

Rural communities are receiving on-grid and off-grid electricity services as part of a National Electrification Plan.

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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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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