Here on the Htet Tayza blog I explain why the Thai envoy recently advised firms in his country to invest in Myanmar’s rapidly growing economy.
Evidence suggests that Myanmar is currently in the process of developing a robust, modern economy. According to Reuters, the Asian Development Bank said that the country’s economy expanded 7.8% in fiscal year 2013-2014, and 8.5% in fiscal year 2014-2015. The government has predicted that Myanmar’s economy will grow 9.3% in the current fiscal year.
This roughly falls into line with the Thai envoy to Myanmar’s expectations of long-term economic growth in the country. The Bangkok Post recently reported that speaking in Yangon, Thai Ambassador Visanu Suvanajata predicted that Myanmar’s economy will expand 8% this year, and continue to grow at such a pace for the next half-decade.
Visanu said that “Thai investors should hurry otherwise they will have no place to stand as business opportunities shrink.” Despite the fact that they share a land-border, Thai investment in Myanmar is fractional at present, and new investment from Thailand is pouring in at a slower rate than investment from other nations.
He noted the particular potential of Myanmar’s manufacturing industry. Figures show that 250 buildings with over 16 floors applied for construction licences in the country during 2013; this increased to 700 last year. Visanu noted that high construction will drive demand in Myanmar for raw materials such as steel and cement.
The ambassador elaborated: “Myanmar will be a manufacturing hub for foreign investors and several of them will relocate their plants from Thailand to Myanmar, thanks in large part to the competitive labour wage of only US$3 per day.”
The envoy also said that Myanmar has cultivated development plans to transform itself into a modern agriculture/ agro-industry destination, which will need foreign investment to get off the ground. Finally he drew attention to the profitability of Myanmar’s burgeoning tourism trade. The number of visitors to the country expanded from just 800,000 in 2013, to 2.8 million in 2014. Visanu added that tourist accommodation in Myanmar is still insufficient, so the country’s hotel sector could prove lucrative to Thai investors.
Htet Tayza comments
If the ambassador’s words make anything clear, it’s that Myanmar’s economy is providing new opportunities every day. Its rise as a tourist destination, determination to develop an agricultural industry and booming construction/manufacturing sectors, crave investment in order to boost their operations to the next level to strengthen the nation’s economy.