A senior official at The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea Centre recently suggested that a stable political environment will allow Myanmar to open itself up to more international investment.
Foreign Direct Investment
Figures from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), which aims to create an investment-friendly climate in Myanmar illustrates that foreign direct investment (FDI) has been beneficial for Myanmar’s economy.
Data compiled by suggests that total FDI in Myanmar hit US$58.19 billion last year. The World Bank expects Myanmar’s economy to expand by 6.5% in the 2015/2016 fiscal year. Further DICA figures illustrate that Korea was the sixth biggest investor in Myanmar during 2015, at US$3.39 billion. Also, more than 120 Korean businesses invested in Myanmar last year, accounting for 5.83% of the country’s total FDI for the period.
Online publication The Myanmar Times recently reported that Kim Young-sun, secretary general of the ASEAN-Korea Centre, believes Korean firms are looking to increase investment in Myanmar. The ASEAN-Korea Centre strives to promote cooperation between Southeast Asian nations and South Korea.
Young-sun explained the importance of Myanmar’s recent elections to Korea’s investors. He said that “political development towards further stability will fuel economic growth and foreign investment.” Continuing, Young-sun went on to say: “The business communities in Myanmar and abroad are watching with excitement the expectation of a bright future.”
Capitalising on opportunity
In a press release, the Centre explained the importance of the ‘ASEAN economic community,’ to Korean investors. This project was launched in 2015 and is designed to integrate the ASEAN economies. The Centre hopes the initiative will spur a fresh wave of infrastructure projects across Myanmar, which will bring new highways and railways across the nation.
Explaining further, Young-sun said: “They [foreign investors] know that Myanmar has great potential to develop, with a large population and a strategic location in a dynamic region.” He indicated that Korean ventures are looking to expand their business relationship with Myanmar, saying: “But it isn’t just infrastructure and energy, we are also willing to invest in manufacturing and service sectors, and we’re having discussion with the relevant officials.”
Htet Tayza’s commentary
Concluding, Young-sun noted: “The overall atmosphere is quite positive at the moment, so now is the right time [for Myanmar] to increase communication with the international community – including Korea.” The recent elections and the launch of the ASEAN economic community have turned Myanmar into a more attractive prospect for investors, providing them with more opportunities to secure stable return on investment. In turn, this may persuade investors to place capital into vital infrastructure projects and sector development, which will aid business activity within Myanmar and could allow its economy to expand at a faster pace in 2016.