The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has taken another step toward re-engagement with Myanmar by opening an office and dispatching staff in the country.
“Establishing an office in Myanmar allows us to deepen our understanding of the challenges facing the country, and how best to offer assistance to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” said Stephen P. Groff, ADB’s vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “It’s crucial that we understand the reality facing Myanmar as we work with the government to formulate a partnership strategy for successful development and poverty reduction.”
Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world, with one in four of the country’s 60 million people living in poverty. Three out of four people have no access to electricity. Although the country appears poised for a period of rising economic growth, it needs to carry out further reforms and carefully balance growth with sustainability to realise its potential and reduce widespread poverty.
ADB recently completed preliminary needs assessments in key sectors: transport; energy; agriculture and natural resources; education; and urban development, including water and sanitation. ADB will expand its analytical work in selected priority sectors, and provide technical assistance initially for capacity building and institutional strengthening. The new office premise will serve the staff assigned on extended mission to Myanmar.
ADB has not had operations in Myanmar since 1988, although the country, as a member of the Greater Mekong Subregion programme, has participated in ADB-assisted regional activities over the last 20 years. ADB’s resumption of operations will be coordinated with other development partners and based on resolution of arrears.
In addition, ADB’s Board of directors welcomed a new Alternate Executive director from Myanmar, Khin Khin Lwin, on 16 July 2012. The last time an official from Myanmar was represented on the Board was in 2003.