As Myanmar works to build a hydropower sector, IFC experts say involving the private sector from the get-go and drawing from the experience of resource-rich neighboring countries such as Lao PDR will be the right move for the country.
Despite its rich natural and human resources, Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. After a long absence, the World Bank Group has begun re-engaging with the country, supporting reforms that will benefit all of its people.
In an op-ed in South China Morning Post, Vice Presidents Karin Finkelston, Axel van Trotsenburg, and Michel Wormser write that 3 out of 4 people in Myanmar are without reliable access to electricity. No power means that children can't study at night.
Opened in August 1, 2012, IFC's office in Myanmar is taking the lead in developing and implementing future programs in the country as it undertakes economic reforms.
Together with the World Bank, IFC has started its engagement in Myanmar with a series of assessments, including a legal and regulatory review of the country’s investment climate and a business environment perception survey of small and medium enterprises. These assessments would form the basis of future advisory work to improve the ease of doing business and to strengthen dialogue between the private sector and the government.
With small and medium businesses comprising 95 percent of enterprises in Myanmar, we have also initiated a financial sector mapping to identify areas where IFC could provide support needed to improve access to finance, particularly in the microfinance and SME banking sectors.
The development of key infrastructure such as power, telecommunications, and transportation is also of great importance to the private sector in Myanmar, where only 13 percent of the population has access to electricity and less than one percent has Internet access. We have begun an assessment of the infrastructure sector to identify potential areas in which IFC can provide support.