Overview

  • Last updated: October 2018

    The devastation in Rakhine State has added to the complexity of issues impacting Myanmar, where populations in its conflict-affected areas – such as Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Shan – are prone to, if not already suffering from, humanitarian crises. The Rakhine crisis alone has resulted in over 700,000 refugees and internally displaced people, on top of major violence and suffering.

    As a response to the Rakhine crisis, The World Bank Group has reviewed its engagement in Myanmar to focus on social inclusion in conflict-affected areas in support of the country’s historic political and economic transition.

    With an emphasis on the importance of achieving peace and security as a foundation for inclusive and sustainable development for all communities in Myanmar, the Bank continues to provide technical and financial support, especially through high-impact projects. They focus on education, health services, access to electricity and other essential services, response to natural disasters, and inclusion of all ethnic groups and religions, in Rakhine State and other conflict-affected areas in the country.

    Myanmar is a lower-middle income economy with a GNI per capita of $1,455 in 2017. Strong economic growth translated into a reduction in poverty from 48 to 32 percent between 2005 and 2015. The economy grew at 5.9 percent in 2016/17 and is estimated to have grown at 6.4 percent in 2017/18, driven by strong industrial performance, in particular garment manufacturing. Nevertheless, a rapid currency depreciation between April and August, and a related pick-up in inflation, reflect vulnerabilities in the economy. Downside risks to the growth outlook have intensified as uncertainty about the aftermath of the Rakhine crisis and global economic policy has risen.

    The recent government approval of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan is a welcome policy development. Accelerated implementation can help reassure investors and support growth. In particular, the implementation of the new Myanmar Companies Law, ongoing liberalization and possible opening of the insurance sector to foreign players, and the opening of wholesale and retail markets to FDI are likely to boost manufacturing and retail services.

    While progress still needs to be made in some parts of the country, where outcomes are lagging, there have been some stark changes over time in access to electricity, education, goods ownership, and technology usage, according to the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017. In 2005, 4 million households with 20.3 million members reported using candles and kerosene for lighting. In 2017, only 800,000 households with 3 million members did so. The number of households that used electricity for lighting effectively doubled, from 1.8 million in 2005 to 4.7 million 2017. These changes are occurring largely in Myanmar’s villages, where the need was highest.

    Mobile phones have seen the most rapid growth of all consumer goods, with smartphones being the dominant technology used. In 2017, nearly 40 million people lived in households that owned a phone, and, of these, 36 million lived in households with smartphones.

    Myanmar is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, exposed to multiple hazards, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides, and droughts. It ranks 3rd out of 184 countries in the 2018 Global Climate Risk Index and 12th out of 191 countries in the INFORM Index for Risk Management.

  • Last updated: October 2018

    The current Myanmar Country Partnership Framework 2015-2019 focuses on rural development through agriculture, electrification, 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; and  boosting private sector-led jobs, by improving electricity, addressing major bottlenecks to firms’ expansion, and supporting macroeconomic stability and business climate reforms.

    The World Bank Group has increased its focus on social inclusion in conflict areas, including in Rakhine State.  This involves adjusting the portfolio and pipeline to ensure work is inclusive and conflict sensitive. Working closely with other development partners to ensure complementarities in approach is also important.  The World Bank also seeks opportunities to support the Government in implementing the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission, which proposed measures to improve the welfare of all peoples in Rakhine state.

  • Last updated: October 2018

    The World Bank Group is supporting reform programs that will benefit all the people of Myanmar, especially the poor and vulnerable.

    Three major focus areas are:

    Reducing rural poverty 

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

    Under the National Community Driven Development Project, 7 million people benefited from better infrastructure such as bridges, roads, health clinics, and schools. Key results include more than 8,000 kilometers of footpaths and access roads renovated or built, more than 3,400 schools built or rehabilitated, 1,400 electrification projects, and 4.39 million days of paid labor.

    Under the National Electrification Project (NEP), an estimated 1.2 million people living at 4,000 remote villages in every State and Region nationwide have new access to electricity from around 228,000 solar home system and 24,000 solar street lights as well as solar electricity system in public school, rural health clinic and community center of these villages. NEP is planning to bring new and improved electricity to an additional 2.2 million people in 2019 through grid extension and off-grid electrification. Under grid extension, 5,080 villages will be connected to the national electricity grid and 2,250 remote villages will have access to electricity from off-grid solar system.

    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. Over time, this will involve 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, and strengthen financial protection.

    Under the Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project, 192,586 students have received stipends to date, and 47,008 schools received grants to improve their services. 20,407 Mentee Teachers who are young and inexperienced received mentoring from 316 well trained Mentor Teachers. 

    Through the Essential Health Services Access Project, 12,169 primary health care facilities - ranging from township hospitals to the sub rural health centers - received health facility funds to improve their readiness to provide essential public health and clinical services for mothers, newborns and children at the facility and within the community. In addition, the project helps strengthen the quality of care by building skills of midwives on emergency obstetric care and management of common childhood illnesses and improves efficiency and responsiveness through financial management skills trainings for medical officers and finance clerks.

    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.

    The private sector arm of the World Bank Group, IFC, has helped government to implement reforms that improve the business environment and encourage and retain investments in infrastructure, the financial sector, and in sectors that create jobs with a focus on improving the investment climate in Myanmar, through regulatory reforms initiatives (e.g. Investment Law, Myanmar Business Forum, Doing Business Reform, Credit Bureau, Secured Transactions Reform, Corporate Governance, and Environment and Social Sustainability Performance Standards). IFC has provided advisory and investment support which has facilitated close to $3 billion in financing disbursed through 4.7 million microloans and 11000 SME loans, over $1.5 billion of private sector financing through loans, equity and guarantees.

    The World Bank Group is also contributing to informed debate and decision-making on development policy within a rapidly changing Myanmar by bringing the most recent data and analysis on development issues to policy makers, think tanks, civil society, and citizens.

    The Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was established in 2014 to help development partners get the most impact possible out of resources designated to support Myanmar’s development. The Myanmar Partnership MDTF represents a collaboration between the Government of Myanmar; Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); UK Government Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID)the Kingdom of Denmarkthe Republic of Finland; and the World Bank Group represented by the International Finance Cooperation and the World Bank (IBRD/IDA).  The Myanmar Partnership MDTF seeks to implement Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan through enhanced coordination, World Bank Group technical assistance and government executed projects.  The Myanmar Partnership’s MDTF program activities align with and compliment the World Bank Group’s major focus areas for Myanmar.

    Analytical and diagnostic work covers a wide range of development areas, including the Analysis of Poverty in Myanmar, which presents trends in poverty over time, Subnational Conflict in Myanmar the 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, , the Pay, Compensation and Human Resource Management Review, which provides advice on Myanmar’s public sector wage bill, and Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA) to inform resilient recovery following the 2015 floods and landslides. The World Bank Group also releases Myanmar Economic Monitors, which examine economic developments and reforms, twice a year.

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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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Country Partnership Framework

Myanmar and World Bank Group extend partnership to end extreme poverty and promote inclusive growth for two more years.

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Unleashing Myanmar's Agricultural Potential

Myanmar’s unusually fertile soils and abundant water source are legendary in Southeast Asia.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Yangon Office
Level 21, Sule Square, 221, Sule Pagoda Road, Kyauktada Township, Yangon 11182, Myanmar
+95 1 925 5030
myanmar@worldbank.org
Washington DC
1818 H Street NW, Washington DC 20433
+1 202-473-4709
eastasiapacific@worldbank.org