Overview

  • Escalating conflict in Rakhine State has added to the complexity of issues impacting Myanmar, where almost one-third of the country is conflict-affected. Populations in other parts of the country– such as Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Shan – are experiencing, or are prone to, humanitarian crisis. The Rakhine crisis alone has led to more than 700,000 people fleeing into Bangladesh, with around 150,000 internally displaced people remaining in Rakhine.

    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. These 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 US$1,210 in 2017. Strong economic growth translated into a reduction in poverty from 48 to 32 percent between 2005 and 2015. However, stark variations in the overall degree and types of disadvantages among states and regions in Myanmar remain, according to the Multidimensional Welfare in Myanmar report, which constructed a multidimensional index of disadvantage consisting of 14 non-monetary indicators related to education, employment, health, water and sanitation, housing and assets. Overall, rural populations are more than twice as likely as urban populations to experience multiple disadvantages. Households in Rakhine, Ayeyarwady and Kayin are much more likely than in other states and regions to suffer from severe multiple disadvantages. Sixty percent of households in Rakhine and 36 percent in Kayin are disadvantaged in at least five different areas, and Rakhine State is by far the most disadvantaged state or region.

    Economic growth remains strong by regional and global standards but is slowing. Myanmar’s economy grew at 6.8 percent in 2017/18, driven by strong performance in domestic trade and telecommunications, but offset by slowing growth in manufacturing, construction and transport sectors. Real GDP growth is projected to moderate to 6.2 percent in 2018/19. 

    The medium-term macroeconomic outlook nevertheless remains positive. Economic growth is set to recover to 6.6 percent by 2020/21, driven by an expected pickup in foreign and domestic investment responding to recent government policy measures. Building on the continuing implementation of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, the government’s policy intent was reflected in recent reforms including implementation of the new Myanmar Companies Law, opening of the insurance sector and wholesale and retail markets to foreign players, services sector liberalization, and loosening restrictions on foreign bank lending.

    Myanmar is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, exposed to multiple hazards, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides and droughts. Along with Puerto Rico and Honduras, Myanmar is one of the countries most affected by climate change in the last 20 years, ranking third out of 184 countries in the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index and 12th out of 191 countries on the INFORM Index for Risk Management.

    Last Updated: Apr 08, 2019

  • 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.

    The recently completed Systematic Country Diagnostic for Myanmar had identified the following prioritized policy areas and actions for progress, grouped into three pathways: (i) strengthen economic and financial sector management to sustain growth and job creation (ii) building inclusive institutions and human capital for all to foster peace and shared prosperity (iii) managing natural endowments sustainably and building resilience for long-term prosperity – with the cross-cutting theme of reforming public institutions for effective and equitable policy implementation.  

    Last Updated: Apr 08, 2019

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

    Our major focus areas based on the Country Partnership Framework (2015-2019) are:

    Reducing rural poverty

    Myanmar has been more deeply affected by subnational conflict –armed conflict over control of a subnational territory within a sovereign state – than any other country in Asia. In 2016, active or latent subnational conflict was present in more than one-third of the country’s townships in 11 of Myanmar’s 14 regions and states. The persistence of conflict has shaped Myanmar’s institutional and development trajectory.

    Today, 70 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, more than seven million people in approximately one-fifth of the rural townships in the country have benefitted from improved community infrastructure such as bridges, roads, health clinics, and schools. Key results to date include more than 8,800 kilometers of access roads and footpaths upgraded or built, more than 3,600 schools rehabilitated or built, 3,300 water systems installed, 1,400 electrification projects completed, and 4.64 million person-days of paid labor amounting to approximately US$20 million in wages transferred.

    Under the National Electrification Project (NEP), an estimated 1.2 million people living in 4,000 remote villages nationwide have new access to electricity from 228,000 solar home system and 24,000 solar powered street lights. All schools, rural health clinics and community centers of these villages have also been electrified. NEP is also planning to bring electricity to an additional 2.2 million people in 2019 through grid extension and off-grid electrification. This covers additional 5,000 villages through the national power grid and 2,300 remote villages from off-grid solar systems.

    Investing in people and effective institutions for people

    Sharing the benefits of the transition more widely across space and income groups will not only be key to reduce poverty, but it will also improve the potential for peace and sustained growth going forward. The impact of a stunting rate of 29 percent, middle school enrolment of 71 percent, and lack of access to basic water year-round for more than 30 percent of the population will be felt for years to come, as these disadvantages limit the full productive potential of human capital. 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.

    A more representative institutional set up and equitable fiscal arrangement that balances power and responsibilities between the center and the states or regions, together with cooperation with non-state providers in service delivery in conflict-affected areas, can help stabilize the country. It can also ensure that service delivery caters effectively to the different needs across the country. 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, 191,814 students have received stipends to date, and 48,545 head teachers and administrators have undergone capacity building to implement programs and monitor their progress. Approximately 25 percent of primary schools throughout Myanmar have participated in mentoring activities. As many as 286 new mentors have been recruited for 70 new townships in 2018-19 for a total of 599 mentors and 150 townships countrywide.

    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.

    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). Since 2013, IFC has invested and mobilized over US$1.3 billion in Myanmar; and provides tailored financing and advisory services to clients in infrastructure, manufacturing, finance, tourism and agri-business sectors.

    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.

    Last Updated: Apr 08, 2019

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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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Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund

The Trust Fund supports Myanmar with its long-term development objectives including education, private sector development and finance.

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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.

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