WASHINGTON, October 12, 2013 – The Government of Myanmar today signed agreements with the World Bank Group designed to give a critical boost to the economic development and growing international economic engagement of the South East Asian country.
At a Washington DC ceremony, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and Myanmar’s Minister of Finance, U Win Shein, joined by World Bank’s East Asia Pacific Regional Vice President Axel van Trotsenburg, signed a US$140 million credit agreement to support the installation of a modern, high-efficiency 106 mw electricity power plant in Mon State. This investment is part of Myanmar’s power expansion plan and the cornerstone of the World Bank Group’s support for Myanmar’s energy sector. The project, replacing aging gas turbines with new units, and producing 250 percent more electricity with the same amount of gas, is the first step to bringing more and cleaner electricity to the people of Myanmar.
“Access to a reliable supply of electricity can transform people’s lives. It can empower them to expand businesses and create jobs, enable children to study at night, and clinics to refrigerate medicine,” said Dr. Kim. “The entire global community has been impressed by the commitment of the Myanmar government to democracy and delivering services to your people. We will work with you to ensure that there is a democracy dividend.”
“The Government of Myanmar has identified electricity as a top priority for our country's development and this project is an important part of our effort to build a better future for our people,” said U Win Shein. “In addition, we are very pleased to be joining MIGA as this will enhance opportunities for investors to share in the country's strong growth and create jobs for the people of Myanmar.”
At the same ceremony, Myanmar took an important step to full membership in the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). Minister of Finance Shein signed the convention to accede to MIGA on behalf of the Government of Myanmar, joined by MIGA Executive Vice President Keiko Honda.
Membership in MIGA means that foreign direct investment into Myanmar will be eligible for the Agency’s political risk insurance. This insurance protects investments against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation, breach of contract, war and civil disturbance, and non-honoring of financial obligations. Investors from Myanmar going into other developing countries may also receive coverage for their investments from MIGA.
"We welcome this significant step and look forward to having Myanmar as a MIGA member,” said MIGA’s Honda. "Our focus is on markets where we can make the greatest difference to improve people’s lives. As Myanmar continues down its historic path of openness, we are committed to helping the country achieve its development objectives—through leveraging private investments, especially in energy, telecoms and agriculture.”
Membership in MIGA will be completed once Myanmar makes its required capital contribution to the Agency.
The interest-free Myanmar Electric Power Project credit was approved on September 24, supported by the International Development Association (IDA). More than a quarter of Myanmar’s people live below the poverty line, and the electrification rate is among the lowest in Southeast Asia.
World Bank support for the Myanmar Electric Power Project and Myanmar’s accession to MIGA follow an US $80 million grant for a national community driven development project, to help 3.5 million people in rural communities with improvements in infrastructure. The World Bank Group is also working with Myanmar on the preparation of possible future support in priority areas such as public financial management, telecommunications, and education..
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