IFC works with other World Bank Group institutions to maximize our impact on the poor.
Six decades of conflict and economic isolation have impoverished Myanmar—three quarters of its people go without electricity, half its roads are impassable when it rains, and large numbers of children are malnourished.
The future, however, looks brighter. In 2011, the country began a transition to a more democratic form of government and a market-oriented economic system. Those developments offer the potential for a major change: restoring one of the world’s poorest countries to its historic role as one of Asia’s most dynamic economies.
That is a complex undertaking—and it will take time. Despite Myanmar’s ample natural resources, the country faces significant obstacles to development. To achieve its potential, it must strengthen economic governance, rebuild infrastructure, modernize its legal and regulatory frameworks, and find ways to bring prosperity to all its people.
Those are areas in which IFC and the World Bank can play a critical role, leveraging the distinctive capabilities of each institution. Working under a joint strategy, our institutions began this year by helping Myanmar clear its arrears to the World Bank’s International Development Association, or IDA.
The World Bank is providing $165 million in zero-interest loans to the country to help it address its most urgent needs. This is in addition to an $80 million grant for community-driven development that enables villagers to improve schools, clinics, roads, and the water supply.
At the same time, IFC is working to improve the investment climate and expand access to finance in Myanmar, in order to support the growth of the domestic private sector, attract world-class foreign investors, and stimulate job creation. We also are working with the Bank and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency to promote the country’s essential infrastructure services, with an initial focus on the electricity and telecommunications sectors.
IFC also began to invest in Myanmar for the first time. We provided a $2 million loan to help our Cambodian client ACLEDA Bank set up a new microfinance institution in the country. The new institution aims to provide loans to more than 200,000 people—most of them women entrepreneurs—by 2020.
In addition to the loan, IFC is strengthening the institution’s capacity to deliver microfinance services, enhancing its risk management practices, and helping it to develop a responsible finance strategy.