The Asian Development Bank is negotiating with the Burmese government to resume aid funding to the impoverished country after a hiatus of more than 20 years.
Asian Development Bank vice President for Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Groff has just spent four days in Burma meeting with President Thein Sein and his cabinet.
Burma and its donors must agree about how to settle its 900 million dollar debt to the multi-lateral agency before aid can be resumed.
Groff says he’s optimistic about an outcome and is impressed with the government’s commitment to reform.
“What they’re doing is real. Now that doesn’t mean that all is guaranteed,” he said.
“But I do believe that you have in place, right now, a government and a set of ministers, and you have a business community and an INGO community that is really behind this reform agenda.”
Last month’s clashes in the Arakan state have been in part blamed on long standing economic discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims.
Groff says the Burmese government recognises the need for a more equal sharing of future economic development.
“There’s still a large portion of the population that is living in significant deprivation,” he said.
“That kind of unequal growth that we’ve seen in the country over the last fifty years is a risk.”