The original destination of the International Research Project 2020 was Myanmar. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, it is very unlikely to conduct field research abroad. We are still very happy to conduct desk research concentrating on the markets of Myanmar as we have already gained basic knowledge about the country. In addition, we have broaden our focus to other markets! We are looking for companies that are searching to explore their opportunities locally or globally. The research can entail solutions for recent impediments or focus on longer term complexities.

Economy of Myanmar

Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, with a population of 53 million. GDP growth of around 7% makes it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The strategic location between China and India makes Myanmar an important regional trade hub and a vital part of China’s belt and road initiative. Myanmar’s new investment law has created international standard regulations for protecting investors, attracting capital and has opened new opportunities for foreign investments.

The country is one of the last untapped markets: it has lots of unused arable land, vast oil and gas reserves and more freshwater resources than any other country in the region. With a young and dynamic workforce, labour costs are highly competitive while industrial and technological reform are driving productivity growth, this is helping establish Myanmar as a key manufacturing hub. As the country has opened up politically and economically, the number of visitors has soared making tourism a developing industry with potential for rapid growth.

Location and Connectivity

One of the biggest assets of Myanmar is the strategic location in the centre of Asia, in the heart of the world’s fastest-growing regional economy. The country’s attractive geographical location connects it with China, India, Bangladesh and the ASEAN members of Thailand and Laos, providing access to a market of approximately three billion people. It is estimated that in 2030 half of the world’s consumers live within a five-hour flight of Myanmar. Improvements in Myanmar’s infrastructure have the highest priority by the government to establish efficient national and international supply chains for future economic growth. Moreover, the shortest route from China to the Indian Ocean is through Myanmar, making the country a valuable link for China. Myanmar has been supported by China in advancing the transportation infrastructure construction including railways, roads, airports and ports to stimulate the economic development of Myanmar.

Government reforms and society

Myanmar is undergoing a fundamental political and economic transformation to a democratic, federal and peaceful national state. The government supports economic growth through an ambitious structural reform program focusing on economic, political and governance reform. The main pillars of this program are stabilizing the currency, new fiscal regulations, stimulating foreign investments, improving the financial sector and liberalizing the telecommunications sector. Myanmar has the right opportunities and potentials for sustainable growth: the country offers natural resources and arable land in abundance and it possesses a skilled, motivated and young population to realize the potentials and positive change.

These factors combined make Myanmar a very promising destination for the FSR International Research Project 2019-2020.

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