Business Monitor's View on Myanmar: From Promise to Profits

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Over a year Business Monitor's last special report on the topic, Myanmar continues to progress down the long path towards political and economic development, solidifying Business Monitor's feelings that the country's recent awakening is the 'real deal.'

Myanmar GDP, Asia GDP, Myanmar Investment

Myanmar GDP Growth Forecast

The consumer will be the biggest winner in a landscape we predict will be characterised by network sharing and intense competition.

Over a year Business Monitor's last special report on the topic, our latest special report details how Myanmar continues to progress down the long path towards political and economic development, solidifying Business Monitor's feelings that the country's recent awakening is the 'real deal.' While the past year and a half has not been without its pitfalls and unforeseen challenges, Business Monitor note that, more importantly, Myanmar's leadership appears to be dedicated to maintaining the country's strong reform momentum. Concurrently, the military has retained a relatively low profile, allowing Myanmar's young democracy to adopt a series of crucial economic reforms and shifting fears of a return to direct authoritarian rule further towards the back-burner.

Although Myanmar has enjoyed unprecedented interest from overseas investors since early 2011, greenfield opportunities remain considerable for investors across the entire transport infrastructure spectrum. However, Business Monitor believe that investors looking to realise the rewards offered by Myanmar's transport infrastructure sector are unlikely to find things easy owing to pitfalls in the country's business environment. The clearest example of this has been the difficulties faced by the Dawei port and special economic zone (SEZ) project, one of the country's flagship infrastructure projects.

Myanmar has ushered in a new era of transformation after awarding its first telecom licences to Norway's Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo (formerly Qtel). Although it was a transparent licensing process, Business Monitor remain conservative on the sustainability of these reform policies due to the uncertain political landscape. Meanwhile, Busienss Monitor raise questions about the ability of new licencees to meet the ambitious 75% mobile penetration target set by the government given operational and regulatory challenges. Business Monitor International contends that the consumer will be the biggest winner in a landscape Business Monitor predict will be characterised by network sharing and intense competition.

Business Monitor believe Myanmar's agricultural production prospects are bright over the long term, given the country's resource endowment, strategic location and encouraging foreign investment regulation. In fact, the agribusiness sector has been attracting considerable foreign interest since the liberalisation of the country's political system in March 2011. However, the lack of clear land regulation and infrastructure, coupled with the weakness of the food supply chain, will be strong brakes on foreign investment and agricultural production growth in the medium term.

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James Hampton
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