PRESS RELEASE

Power to People: World Bank Group to invest US $2 billion in Myanmar to support reforms, reduce poverty, increase energy and health access

January 26, 2014

Yangon, January 26, 2014 – On his first visit to Myanmar, President Jim Yong Kim today announced World Bank Group plans for a US$2 billion multi-year development program. It will include projects that dramatically improve access to energy and health care for poor people and support other key government development priorities.

He announced the major increase in new financial support at a community health clinic in Yangon where he was joined by the Myanmar Minister of Health, Dr. Pe Thet Khin. They met doctors, local residents, and members of the international donor community and Kim pledged the funding will help improve the lives of the poorest people and support ongoing reforms in Myanmar.

We are increasing our support for the huge reform effort underway in Myanmar because we want to help the government bring benefits to poor people even more quickly,” said President Kim. “Our US$2 billion dollar multi-year program will support the government’s plans to deliver universal health care to citizens and to help everyone in the country gain access to electricity by 2030.”

The World Bank Group will harness expertise and resources from IDA, IFC and MIGA to support the government’s multi-year investment program. This will include US$1 billion in Bank Group financial support to expand electricity generation, transmission and distribution. Over 70 percent of Myanmar’s people do not have access to reliable electricity.

The energy investment will also support development of a National Electrification Plan, enhance institutional capacity, and promote regulatory reforms that are critical for sustainable private sector participation. It will include support for private sector investments in power generation and distribution, as well as the scale-up of renewable energy for rural and off-grid electrification. 

“Expanding access to electricity in a country like Myanmar can help transform a society – children will be able to study at night, shops will stay open, and health clinics will have lights and energy to power life-saving technology. Electricity helps brings an end to poverty,” said Kim.

IFC is partnering with the Government of Myanmar to increase efficiency in the electricity distribution sector and extend service to a greater number of end users.  The World Bank Group will also pursue investments to support transparent, cost-effective private investments, and public-private joint ventures for large new power stations.

Kim said the investment will include US$200 million in IDA funding to help Myanmar achieve universal health coverage by 2030. Together with financing previously committed by other international development partners, the IDA financing will help Myanmar scale up access to quality, essential health services for women and children through results-based financing, and remove out-of-pocket payments as a barrier to health care for the poorest people.

“Everyone should have access to affordable, quality health services, and no one should be forced into poverty trying to pay for the health care they need,” he said. “The Myanmar government’s ambitious plan for universal coverage by 2030 will help ensure that every Myanmar citizen has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.

An estimated 75 percent of Myanmar’s mostly rural population lacks access to quality health care, and high costs place most essential services out of reach for many Myanmar families who live below the poverty line. 

President Kim will attend the Second Annual Myanmar Development Forum, on Monday, January 27th, in Nay Pyi Taw where he will meet with President Thein Sein, members of the government and opposition and business leaders.

 

Additional Information:

· The World Bank Group’s commitment to supporting health care in Myanmar is part of a global effort to achieve universal health coverage with two global targets for universal coverage by 2030. The financial protection target is that no one will be forced into poverty due to out-of-pocket expenses for health care. The service delivery target is to double the proportion of the poorest people with access to essential health services, including maternal and child health services, communicable diseases, treatment for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, mental health and injuries, from 40 percent to at least 80 percent coverage.

· Increasing efficiency and capacity of existing power generation is the fastest way to improve electricity supply in a sustainable manner. The first investment credit after Bank re-engagement in Myanmar financed a $140 million electric power project to double the capacity and efficiency of gas-fired power plant in Mon State. 

· Development of the country’s National Electrification Plan is also being supported by the World Bank under the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, a jointly chaired World Bank-United Nations effort that aims to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.

 

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visits the Myanmar North Dagon Township Hospital.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/303/EAP