Thank you very much for joining us today.
First I’d like to thank the people of Myanmar for the warm welcome I’ve received today on my arrival.
I am a doctor by professional training, so I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to visit the township hospital in Hlaing Thar Yar with Minister of Health, Dr. Pe Thet Khin, and to learn more about Myanmar’s challenges on its path to universal health coverage.
I believe that everyone should have access to affordable, quality health services.
With less than two years to go until the Millennium Development Goals deadline, we need to focus on expanding access to vital services, especially for poor women and children.
No one should be forced into poverty, or be forced to remain in poverty, in order to pay for the health care they need.
Today, I’m happy to announce that the World Bank Group plans to invest US$2 billion dollars to support key development priorities in Myanmar, including dramatically improving access to health care and energy for all.
This includes funding of around US$200 million from the International Development Association, the Bank’s fund for the poorest, to help Myanmar make progress towards MDGs 4, 5, and 6, on child mortality, maternal health, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
It also includes US$1 billion in financial support to expand electricity generation, transmission and distribution, to help everyone in the country gain access to electricity by 2030 which will have broad development benefits, for health, education, and expand opportunities for business in urban as well as rural areas.
The energy investment will also support development of a National Electrification Plan, enhance institutional capacity, and promote regulatory reforms that are needed to promote private sector participation, which is critical to meet Myanmar’s vast development needs.
I am greatly encouraged by the government’s commitment to reforms.
I also know that Myanmar and the World Bank Group share a common goal – to end poverty and build shared prosperity.
I look forward during my visit to see how the international community is coming together to help Myanmar, and explore how the World Bank Group can help to make transformative changes to improve the lives of all the people of Myanmar.