The following information is current as of the end of 2020. For the World Bank’s statement on recent developments in Myanmar, see here.
The World Bank has supported a more people-centered and bottom-up approach to development by helping to design the National Community-Driven Development Project (NCDDP). The project was financed with an US$80 million International Development Association (IDA) grant and additional financing of US$400 million through an IDA credit. Since 2013, the NCDDP Project has benefitted more than seven million people in 63 townships (20% of the country) and more than 12,000 villages, through the financing of approximately 30,000 sub-projects that improve basic infrastructure and services for transport (roads, bridges, jetties), water, schools, electrification, etc. The NCDDP invested heavily in capacity building and facilitation support for community members who would take direct responsibility for identifying priority development needs and implementing solutions. In the first two years, the project did not operate in conflict areas, but now more than one-third of project areas are considered conflict-affected.
Building on the successful NCDDP, the Government of Myanmar requested the activation of the project’s Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The CERC was successfully activated on July 10, 2020. By the end of September 2020, by reallocating US$110 million to support cash-for-work (CfW) and revolving loan fund (EVRF) activities, the government had transferred wages worth $10 million to 390,000 beneficiaries (42% female) through the CfW scheme and disbursed almost $30 million in loans to 135,000 households through the EVRF.
The Government of Myanmar adopted the National Electrification Plan in 2014 – drawing from World Bank analytical support and expertise through the National Electrification Project (NEP) – to achieve universal access to sustainable electricity services by 2030. One third of the population without electricity access belong to over 130 distinct groups, have distinct languages/dialects, are often among the poorest, and reside in the most isolated regions, which compounds the challenges of service delivery. Since its implementation, NEP has successfully provided access to electricity to 2.2 million people, half of whom female beneficiaries, in 10,000 villages in remote rural areas through 381,000 solar home systems. In addition, the project has provided electricity access to all 15,000 schools, rural health clinics and community centers in villages. 70,000 solar streetlights have been installed and been providing safety to the residents. As part of implementation support, the project helped the government in the procurement system that resulted cost efficiency and value for money through US$50 million savings on the budget using international competitive procurement. Also, a mobile phone-based Citizen Engagement Platform has successfully established in the pilot phase and being scaled up parallel to increase of solar home system installations.
The Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project (DFSP) has disbursed funds to township education offices, schools, and at-risk children and their families, in which 244,331 students in 57 townships have received stipends to date, all government schools (47,008) and monastic schools (1,500) in 330 townships receive school improvement funding, more than 20,000 mentee-teachers in 150 townships benefitted from in-school visit and support from a teacher mentor, six rounds of early learning assessment data were collected, analyzed, and used to inform to design an early reading pilot. The project upholds two underlying principles, which are non-discrimination and inclusive consultation.
The Inclusive Access and Quality Education (IAQE) project builds on and extends the geographic scope of the ongoing DFSP and takes a national and a focused approach, covering all states and regions and supporting programs to reach out to schools across the country, while placing greater emphasis on social inclusion and support to conflict-affected areas. More than 70 percent of the financing will be channeled to Myanmar’s most disadvantaged townships, with a particular focus on the most under-performing schools and teachers within these townships. The IAQE project will also support strengthening the efficiency of the education system, including through improved public financial and human resource management and technical support to the Ministry of Education, and will closely monitor implementation across the country.
Since 2015, the Myanmar Essential Health Services Access Project (EHSAP) has been supporting over 12,000 primary health care facilities across the country, ranging from township hospitals to the sub rural health centers, with monthly health facility funds to improve service delivery readiness of these critical frontline health facilities, thus expanding access to basic essential health services for mothers, newborns and children both at the facility level and within the community. In addition, EHSAP strengthens the quality of care by skills building of frontline health workers – about 9,000 midwives were trained on how to provide emergency care during pregnancy and immediately after birth for mothers and babies, and 4,500 midwives learnt also how to identify and manage common childhood illnesses. At the systems level, EHSAP enhances supervision practice by improving the regularity and systematic approach of the supervision visits, improves efficiency and responsiveness of public finance through financial trainings and financial data system modernization, and supports introduction of tablets-based health management information system to the midwives.
Funds under EHSAP have also been mobilized to assist Myanmar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by financing (i) capacity building and operational costs to intensify surveillance activities in all states and regions; (i) establishment of functioning information and reporting system for all suspected cases; (iii) engagement with basic health staff (BHS) including Ethnic Health Organizations for community surveillance; (iv) dissemination of guidelines to BHS and community volunteers on COVID-19; (v) development and dissemination of Information, Education and Communication materials for risk communication on COVID-19; and (vi) operating expenses at the point of entries.
In April 2020, the World Bank approved a US$50 million loan for the Myanmar COVID-19 Emergency Response Project to help Myanmar fill a critical gap in its contingency plan to urgently increase hospital preparedness and surge capacity in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect health workers, and treat patients. Eleven central level hospitals and 50 Region and State level hospitals across all Regions and States have been prioritized for project support. The Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) is collaborating with UNOPS to procure the critical goods and supplies for the intensive care units (ICU) in the prioritized 61 hospitals. The project is also supporting MOHS efforts to enhance risk communication and community engagement activities and training of health workers on quality and safety of clinical services.
Much needed financial support in these difficult times for people in Myanmar is also provided under the Maternal and Child Cash Transfer Project. Over 126,600 women (pregnant women and women with children under two years old) in Ayeyarwady Region and Shan State were enrolled in the program by late August 2020. The beneficiaries have now received 6 months of cash payment, totaling MMK 90,000 (15,000MMK/$US11.50 per month). Cash distribution began on September 9, 2020 through private payment agents, namely AYA and KBZ banks. To date, 50% of beneficiaries in Shan State and 70% in Ayeyarwady Region have received payments. Cash is being transferred through E-wallet or through the nearest AYA Pay or KBZ Pay agents. The next round of cash distribution will be in January 2021.
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.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development organization working with the private sector in developing countries. Since 2013, IFC has invested and mobilized over US$1.4 billion in Myanmar to help create jobs. A strong private sector is vital to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. That’s why IFC is focused on unlocking private investment, creating markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In Myanmar, IFC is focused on helping the country meet its critical needs for infrastructure, especially power, telecoms and transport; agribusiness, and financial services, including support for the microfinance sector. IFC’s work has for example helped more than 600,000 gain access to microfinance with more than 80 percent of those women. IFC’s Lighting Myanmar program, launched in 2016, has reached almost 80,000 households, some in the country’s most remote off grid areas. Our advisory services are also aimed at helping encouraging reforms to improve the business environment as well as raising corporate governance and environmental and social performance standards, and helping banks develop new products for small and medium sized enterprises. Our work has also focused on helping to create respectful workplaces and tackling childcare.
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.
Analytical and diagnostic work covers a wide range of development areas, including the Myanmar Country Environmental Analysis, which is a comprehensive analysis on the country’s environment and natural resources challenges and identifies strategic recommendations; the Subnational Public Expenditure Review 2019, which examines Myanmar’s nascent subnational institutions, focusing on governance, union-local administrative and fiscal relations and service delivery from a local perspective; and, Multidimensional Welfare in Myanmar, which aims to formulate a multidimensional view on how deprived the people in Myanmar are, understand the intensity and determinants of multidimensional disadvantages, and provide a view of multidimensional disadvantage at the sub-national level, pointing to relative disadvantage of each Township in Myanmar; and, the Systematic Country Diagnostic, which identified prioritized policy areas and actions for progress in Myanmar in preparation of the new Country Partnership Framework (2019-2023).
To mitigate longer-term economic effects, Myanmar will benefit from developing keener understandings of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on its firms and households. Partnering with the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), the World Bank has established the Myanmar COVID-19 Monitoring Platform to provide accurate and timely economic data to inform and provide key insights to the Government of Myanmar, development partners and wider civil society. The Platform is based on high-frequency phone surveys with firm and household respondents and a community assessment, in addition to existing analytical products such as the World Bank Myanmar Economic Monitor, which twice a year examines economic developments and reforms.
Updated as of December 2020
Last Updated: Oct 02, 2020