In its first year, the new government led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has launched new economic policies, finalized new health and educations sector strategies, stated new priorities such as nutrition and rural development, and accelerated efforts for the peace process. There are opportunities to further deepen reforms, create shared prosperity for all, and for the country to resume its place as one of the most dynamic economies in Asia.

As the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, Myanmar has one of the lowest population densities in the region, with fertile lands, significant potential to increase its production, yields and profits in agriculture, and a rich endowment of natural resources. Its geographic location at the intersection of China and India, two of the world’s most dynamic economies, makes it well positioned to resume its traditional role as a regional trading hub and a key supplier of minerals, natural gas and agricultural produce.

Economic growth in Myanmar is expected to moderate from 7.3 percent in 2015-2016 to 6.5 percent in 2016-2017. The pace of recovery in agriculture from the floods of 2015 was hampered by longstanding productivity constraints in the sector. Medium-term growth is currently projected to average 7.1 percent per year.

Poverty in Myanmar is concentrated in rural areas, where poor people rely on agricultural and casual employment for their livelihoods. Many live near the poverty line and are sensitive to economy-wide shocks. The World Bank team has conducted a poverty analysis jointly with the government of Myanmar using recently collected household data. The analysis shows that poverty has declined between 2009-2010 and 2015. The assessment, however, signals that poverty remains substantial.

Among ASEAN countries, Myanmar has the lowest life expectancy and the second-highest rate of infant and child mortality. Just one-third of the population has access to the electricity grid and road density remains low at 219.8 kilometers per 1,000 square kilometers of land area. With the recent liberalization of the telecommunications sector, mobile and internet penetration has increased significantly from less than 20 percent and 10 percent in 2014, to 60 percent and 25 percent respectively.  Establishing a credible and consistent policy and regulatory environment in the telecommunications sector can help ensure steady private investments and growth.

 

With thanks to World Bank [source]