Last updated: April 2018
The World Bank Group is supporting reform programs that will benefit all the people of Myanmar, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Three major focus areas are:
Reducing rural poverty. 70% 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, 5.25 million people benefited from better infrastructure such as bridges, roads, health clinics, and schools. Key results include 2,950 kilometers of footpaths and access roads renovated or built, 450 bridges built or repaired, 1,000 schools extended or renovated, and 1 million days of paid-labor. Under the National Electrification Project, an estimated 1.2 million people in rural areas have new or improved access to electricity from around 140,000 households -and community-level solar electricity systems.
Investing in people and effective institutions for people. Successful empowerment and inclusion will depend on citizens who are able to make a better future for themselves and on transparent institutions that allow people to do so. 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. 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, 150,000 students have received stipends to date, and 46,500 schools received grants to improve their services. Through the Essential Health Services Access Project, 12,156 primary health care facilities received health facility grants to improve their readiness to deliver services that are essential for maternal and child health, emergency referral, and other forms of support for patients at the hospitals. The project also supports capacity building programs such as the emergency care and management of childhood illnesses for midwives and financial management skills for medical officers and finance clerks.
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 growthm, 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). IFC has provided advisory and investment support which has facilitated a total of $1 billion in financing disbursed through 2 million microloans and 9,000 SME loans, over $1.5 billion of private sector financing through loans, equity and guarantees.
The World Bank Group is also contributing to informed debate and decision-making on development policy within a rapidly changing Myanmar by bringing most recent data and analysis on development issues to policy makers, think tanks, civil society and citizens.
In 2014, the World Bank Group, together with other partners, set up the Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), which represents a collaboration between the Government of Myanmar (GoM), Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), United Kingdom, Department for International Development (DFID), the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Finland and the World Bank Group. The overall objectives of the MDTF are to: (i) support Myanmar’s transition and the implementation of market-oriented policies, social reforms and national development strategies; and (ii) enhance cooperation between the World Bank Group and Donors through the Trust Fund. The MDTF includes three thematic windows and an implementation support window. The thematic windows include: 1) Social Development and Inclusion; 2) Institutional Strengthening and 3) Private Sector Development. There are multiple activities under each window.
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, 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, 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.