Prestigious event raises Myanmar’s profile

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Myanmar WEFThe World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2013, being held from June 5-7 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw, may officially revolve around the theme of “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration,” but for many participants this year’s prestigious conference is more about the Myanmar story.

As heads of state from Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos, as well as other decision makers and business titans, descend about the secluded capital of Naypyidaw, major investments are being committed.

During an evening meeting of the WEF in the lead up the conference’s opening, Coca-Cola and Unilever signed agreements to investment a combination of nearly $1 billion to restart production activities in Myanmar after both companies spent over a decade away. The commitments are the largest made for Myanmar by multinational corporations.

Earlier this week, Caribbean-based mobile phone firm Digicel, a consortium led by billionaire business magnate George Soros, announced that the company would be making a bid no less than $9 billion for a coveted telecom license in Myanmar, where mobile penetration is next to nil and 74 per cent of the 60 million-strong population lack access to electricity. Of the total investment, $6.6 billion is being planned for direct investment in the country with the rest spent on equipment.

These recent major investments have undoubtedly began to boost Myanmar’s profile, a top ambition of the reform-minded government as it aggressively presses to remove the sullied reputation of its military-dominated years.

“For much of the 20th century, Burma [Myanmar] largely missed out on the spectacular growth seen across most of the global economy and most recently in its Asian peers,” Richard Dobbs, a director of the consulting group McKinsey, said last month.

“It now has the potential to be one of the fastest-growing economies in emerging Asia,” he added.

Indeed, McKinsey recently released a report concluding that Myanmar could quadruple its economy by as soon as 2020 if reforms persist, tacking on an astounding 10 million jobs outside of the agriculture sector. Many of these positions could come from the tourism sector.

Yet the wave of interest coming from the business community that has made Myanmar the popular kid on the block comes with the realisation that with high potential comes high risk. Communal violence, civil war and a debilitating vast absence of essential infrastructure – both physical and human – present enormous hurdles for the country in its path to move out of the doldrums.

To discuss more about the potential and challenges that Myanmar presents, join our tweet chat at 3pm, Malaysia Standard Time on June 6 by tweeting #investvine to @insideinvestor

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2013, being held from June 5-7 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw, may officially revolve around the theme of “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration,” but for many participants this year’s prestigious conference is more about the Myanmar story.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar WEFThe World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2013, being held from June 5-7 in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw, may officially revolve around the theme of “Courageous Transformation for Inclusion and Integration,” but for many participants this year’s prestigious conference is more about the Myanmar story.

As heads of state from Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos, as well as other decision makers and business titans, descend about the secluded capital of Naypyidaw, major investments are being committed.

During an evening meeting of the WEF in the lead up the conference’s opening, Coca-Cola and Unilever signed agreements to investment a combination of nearly $1 billion to restart production activities in Myanmar after both companies spent over a decade away. The commitments are the largest made for Myanmar by multinational corporations.

Earlier this week, Caribbean-based mobile phone firm Digicel, a consortium led by billionaire business magnate George Soros, announced that the company would be making a bid no less than $9 billion for a coveted telecom license in Myanmar, where mobile penetration is next to nil and 74 per cent of the 60 million-strong population lack access to electricity. Of the total investment, $6.6 billion is being planned for direct investment in the country with the rest spent on equipment.

These recent major investments have undoubtedly began to boost Myanmar’s profile, a top ambition of the reform-minded government as it aggressively presses to remove the sullied reputation of its military-dominated years.

“For much of the 20th century, Burma [Myanmar] largely missed out on the spectacular growth seen across most of the global economy and most recently in its Asian peers,” Richard Dobbs, a director of the consulting group McKinsey, said last month.

“It now has the potential to be one of the fastest-growing economies in emerging Asia,” he added.

Indeed, McKinsey recently released a report concluding that Myanmar could quadruple its economy by as soon as 2020 if reforms persist, tacking on an astounding 10 million jobs outside of the agriculture sector. Many of these positions could come from the tourism sector.

Yet the wave of interest coming from the business community that has made Myanmar the popular kid on the block comes with the realisation that with high potential comes high risk. Communal violence, civil war and a debilitating vast absence of essential infrastructure – both physical and human – present enormous hurdles for the country in its path to move out of the doldrums.

To discuss more about the potential and challenges that Myanmar presents, join our tweet chat at 3pm, Malaysia Standard Time on June 6 by tweeting #investvine to @insideinvestor

 

 

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