A Collaborative Approach in Myanmar

The WEF East Asia meeting earlier this month was a major milestone in the Myanmar government’s effort to promote foreign investment as part of the ongoing reform process. Economic growth is forecasted to rise a modest 6.5 percent in 2013, and the country has gone through a period over the past year when most international investors have “looked, listened, learned, and left.” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has referred to this time as an “exploratory frenzy.”

However, reality may slowly be catching up to the hype surrounding investment potential in the country. Several companies, including Microsoft and Unilever, used the WEF event in Naypyidaw to announce high-profile investments. The mood at the meeting and action being taken by an increasing number of companies indicate Myanmar‘s investment story may be reaching a turning point.

In light of this, as BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer recently highlighted, the challenge of developing Myanmar is hard to overstate. And as civil society leaders at WEF rightly pointed out, amid the dynamism, many serious and systemic social challenges persist, including ethnic and religious discrimination, violence, and land grabs. For most of Myanmar’s estimated 60 million people, life hasn’t changed.

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