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World Bank pledges to support economic reform in Myanmar

The Myanmar Times Tue, May 19,  2020

NAY PWI TAW – The World Bank will support Myanmar under a new country partnership framework from 2020 to 2023, it said on May 18.

The framework will focus on three areas – building human capital and fostering peaceful communities, stimulating responsible private sector-led growth and inclusive economic opportunities, and enhancing the resilience of Myanmar to cope with natural disasters while ensuring that natural resources and the environment are managed sustainably.

Since 2011, Myanmar has achieved significant economic growth and improvements in social welfare. However, many parts of the population have yet to benefit from the gains made during this period, the World Bank said.

One-third of Myanmar’s townships remain affected by conflict and also the crisis in Rakhine State poses a serious threat to Myanmar’s goal of achieving peace.

“Myanmar will need to invest in all its people to maximize the benefits of economic growth and ensure a more equitable and stable future,” Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR, said in a statement.

She added that the World Bank will target support for the poor and underserved parts of the country, including those affected by conflict.

According to its estimates, economic growth is now expected to decline sharply from 6.3 percent in 2018-19 to 2pc in 2019-20 due to COVID – 19. While the economy is expected to regain momentum next year if the pandemic is brought under control and global trade resumes.

However, serious risks remain which could delay the country’s recovery, the World Bank reported.

“With the impact [of COVID-19] threatening people’s livelihoods, it’s all the more important to focus on responsible private sector-led growth to generate jobs and inclusive economic opportunities for all the people of Myanmar,” Yuan Xu, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand, said.

Under World Bank’s the new country partnership framework for Myanmar from 2020 to 2023, the International Finance Corporation will support inclusive growth and job creation by working with the private sector to help meet development challenges in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, tourism and increasing people’s access to finance. These are also critical for the future of small and medium sized enterprises.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has provided a US$50 million loan for the Myanmar COVID-19 Emergency Response Project and also a grant of $8 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to Myanmar.

From: THE MYANMAR TIMES, MYANMAR Tue, May 19,  2020

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