Htet Tayza discusses a series of policy notes from the World Bank which suggest that Myanmar could record incredible economic growth in the next half-decade.
Policies for shared prosperity
Online publication Frontier Myanmar reports that the World Bank has recently released a series of policy notes called All Aboard: Policies for Shared Prosperity in Myanmar. Here, the organisation suggests that if certain measures are taken, the South-East Asian nation could record economic growth of 8% in real terms over the next five years.
Speaking at the launch of the policy notes on 23rd February 2016, World Bank Senior Economist Habib Rab said that “The [country’s] economy has expanded by 7% in real terms, one of the strongest in the [South-East Asian] region. There is an opportunity to make that growth more inclusive.” The notes explained that if Yangon makes the right policy decisions, it could foster a growing economy that may supply more jobs and higher wages to the people of Myanmar.
Key policy decisions
According to Fibre2Fashion, a marketplace for the textile industry, Ulrich Zachau, the World Bank Country Director for South-East Asia, elaborated on this point. Commenting on Myanmar’s economic growth potential, Zachau said: “Myanmar is at a historic milestone in its political and economic transition. The great opportunity for Myanmar is to turn continued strong economic growth into better lives for all the people of Myanmar.”
Continuing, he noted: “Three policy directions will be key to help achieve such inclusive growth: the further opening and diversification of the economy, with a level playing field for the private sector and structural shifts to more productive and labour intensive activities; nationwide programs to achieve, over time, universal access to basic education, health, and energy services of reliable quality; and transparency and accountability in the public sector.”
Htet Tayza’s commentary
Reforms can cultivate an environment where businesses flourish, leading to economic expansion. The ultimate example is India, which introduced major economic reforms in 1991. Now, India is recording more impressive economic growth than China – the second largest economy on earth. In other words, there’s grounds to support the World Bank’s theory that if Yangon introduces certain economic reforms it can cultivate real economic growth in Myanmar.
Furthermore a report from the International Monetary Fund, suggests this work is well underway. It says that: “Myanmar has made impressive strides in economic reform, including in the dismantling of trade barriers and the opening of the banking sector… With continued economic reforms and foreign direct investment, the country’s economic prospects look favourable.” In other words if Yangon steps up its efforts to reform Myanmar’s economy and focuses on vital sectors such as education and health, it could create the skill-rich workforce required to drive economic growth going forward.