ADB doubles lending support to Myanmar

15 Jun 16

The Asian Development Bank has more than doubled its annual concessional lending for Myanmar as the country emerges from more than half a century of military rule.


Yangon, Myanmar at night

Yangon, Myanmar at night


The bank’s president Takehiko Nakao announced that it would raise its funding for Myanmar from $150m to $350m from 2017, following a visit to the country this month – less than half a year since its citizens overwhelmingly voted for democracy in January’s historic elections.

With previous elections thwarted by the military, Nakao said that this year’s “successful political transition is a landmark in Myanmar’s development and an encouraging sign for further socioeconomic progress”.

“I am impressed by the government’s commitment to ensuring all citizens benefit from growth,” he continued.

“ADB will support this effort by helping to promote education and quality jobs, enhance infrastructure and attract private investment.”

The ADB will also expand its lending, equity and investment guarantees to the private spheres of Myanmar’s infrastructure and finance sectors.

The bank will finance major projects in power generation and transmission, road works, irrigation, telecommunications and urban infrastructure, including water supply and sanitation.

It said it will “pay great attention” to climate resilience, capacity building and job creation, operation and maintenance and quick project delivery.

Myanmar’s social development achievements, including school enrolment and education quality, will get a further boost from the ADB, as will curriculum reform in secondary education and technical and vocational education, to address a paucity of skilled labour in the country.

“A strong focus on structural reforms in key areas is also critical to the country’s development,” continued Nakao.

He welcomed government initiatives to increase infrastructure investments through public-private-partnerships and improvements to the business environment, which he stressed must continue to attract foreign direct investment.

The bank estimates the country’s economy, one of the fastest growing in Asia, will grow at 8.4% in the 2016/17 financial year, after slowing in the 2015 financial year due to devastating floods and landslides in the summer of that year.

The International Monetary Fund had expected Myanmar to achieve the highest growth rate in the whole region, but the damage wreaked by nature knocked around a percentage point off the country’s growth.

The United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs warned yesterday that heavy monsoon rains since the beginning of June had caused further severe flooding in the same areas that endured last year’s destructive weather.

So far, 14 people have been killed, more than 5,000 homes are inundated and 280 destroyed, while damages to infrastructure, including roads, wells and communal buildings, are still being analysed.

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