Myanmar

Doing business in a federal government

Not only do we have a low per capita GDP but according to the ADB, in 2016 only Myanmar and Laos had slightly higher poverty rates than the …

by · Wednesday, 13 September 2017 · Laos, Myanmar, Philippines

Doing business in a federal government

Not only do we have a low per capita GDP but according to the ADB, in 2016 only Myanmar and Laos had slightly higher poverty rates than the …

by · Wednesday, 13 September 2017 · Laos, Myanmar, Philippines

Bangladesh braces for new surge as Rohingya exodus nears 300000

POVERTY. The widespread persecution of the impoverished community in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is one of the primary causes for the current …

by · Saturday, 9 September 2017 · Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines

Annan Urges Economic, social Reform in Myanmar State

… of violence and radicalization, which will further deepen the chronic poverty that afflicts Rakhine state,” Annan said at a news conference in Yangon …

by · Friday, 25 August 2017 · Myanmar, Thailand

Annan Urges Economic, social Reform in Myanmar State

… of violence and radicalization, which will further deepen the chronic poverty that afflicts Rakhine state,” Annan said at a news conference in Yangon …

by · Friday, 25 August 2017 · Myanmar, Thailand

Annan Urges Economic, social Reform in Myanmar State

… of violence and radicalization, which will further deepen the chronic poverty that afflicts Rakhine state,” Annan said at a news conference in Yangon …

by · Friday, 25 August 2017 · Myanmar, Thailand
Regulating agribusinesses: What are the trends in developing East Asia?

Regulating agribusinesses: What are the trends in developing East Asia?

The pace of economic development throughout developing East Asia has been unprecedented. Despite the effect of the 1997-98 financial crisis, poverty rates in the region have been consistently declining.
Agriculture played a key role by driving growth in the early stages of industrialization. It also contributed to reducing rural poverty by including smallholders into modern food markets and creating jobs in agriculture. Nonetheless, poverty in developing East Asia is still overwhelmingly rural, reflecting a mismatch between agriculture’s shares of GDP and employment.
 

Agriculture’s weight in growth and poverty.
Source: Authors’ calculations based on WDI data.


As incomes rise and countries urbanize, the composition of domestic food expenditure is shifting from staples to meat, horticulture and processed foods. Thus, while today’s East Asian developing economies transform, the nature of their agricultural sectors is also changing.

Regulation can affect the speed of such transformation and determine the pathways of agricultural development in the years to come. It is a key business environment component due to its impact on costs, risks and barriers to competition in the agricultural value chain. Agricultural production has unique dimensions through which it interacts with relevant laws and regulations. These include agricultural inputs such as seed and fertilizer, and access to finance and markets. By setting the right regulatory framework, governments can help increase the competitiveness of farmers and agribusinesses, enabling them to integrate into regional and global markets.

Measuring regulations

The World Bank Group’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project measures regulatory good practices and transaction costs affecting agribusinesses. EBA indicators cover a range of regulatory domains pertaining to seed, fertilizer, agricultural machinery, water, access to markets, finance, transport, information and communication technology (ICT). For each of these areas EBA indicators provide an aggregate picture of how supportive regulation is for agribusinesses. A newly released policy note analyzes seven East Asia and Pacific countries including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

EBA indicators assess regulation on two complementary dimensions. On the one hand, legal indicators reflect the number of regulatory good practices that countries enact to correct market failures. This may include, for example, plant protection regulations or labelling requirements for fertilizers. On the other hand, efficiency indicators measure the transaction costs regulations impose on businesses such as time and cost to register a tractor or obtain a trucking license.

Most regulatory constraints to agricultural development in East Asian economies pertain to the legal dimension, where the region scores second to last.

Figure 1. EBA Scores by Region
Source: EBA data
Note: OECD- High income OECD countries, LAC – Latin America & Caribbean, ECA- Europe & Central Asia,
MENA-Middle East & North Africa, EAP –
East Asia & Pacific, SSA-Sub-Saharan Africa, SA- South Asia.

Country-level scores highlight the diversity of agricultural regulation in East Asia, with Vietnam displaying the most supportive framework. This is reflected in Vietnam’s good regulatory practices such as allowing water permit transfers among farmers and abolishing quotas on cross-border transport licenses. Moreover, it is supported by efficient systems. For example, it requires only 15 days to register a chemical fertilizer product in Vietnam, which is the second best performance across the 62 countries covered by EBA—chemical fertilizer registration is fastest in Uruguay. In contrast, Myanmar displays the least supportive regulatory framework, with particularly weak laws on plant protection and pest control and a lack of rules on tractor standards and water permits.

Figure 2. EBA Scores by Country

Source: EBA data
Benchmarking regulatory frameworks in East Asian economies through the EBA indicators suggests few general trends. First, these countries tend to perform better on efficiency than on legal components. Second, most countries over perform the global average on fertilizer regulations but fail to do so when it comes to regulating other agricultural inputs such as water. Third, access to markets and finance regulations are two areas where regulation in the region need substantial improvement.

Rising incomes and urbanization in East Asia are shifting the composition of domestic food expenditure from basic and unprocessed staple foods to meat, horticulture and processed foods. To take full advantage of these emerging trade opportunities policy makers should seize the opportunity to support agribusinesses with effective regulations.

 

by · Wednesday, 16 August 2017 · Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

Myanmar’s Rohingya: cornered by poverty, stalked by violence

Maung Hnama, Rakhine, Myanmar – Hemmed in by Myanmar security forces and menaced by abductions and killings, Rohingya Muslims in a …

by · Tuesday, 18 July 2017 · Myanmar, Thailand

Cornered by poverty, followed by violence

RAKHINE, Myanmar―Hemmed in by Myanmar security forces and menaced by abductions and killings, Rohingya Muslims in a conflict-scarred corner …

by · Tuesday, 18 July 2017 · Myanmar, Philippines
The long road to Chin state in Myanmar: A journey to build back better

The long road to Chin state in Myanmar: A journey to build back better

Also available in Myanmar

Chin state is the second poorest state in Myanmar, located in the mountains with poor road conditions making it difficult to travel. Photo: Kyaw Htut Aung/World Bank

My journey to Chin state in Myanmar began with a simple question from my colleague – “Where do you want to go?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I said, “Anywhere is fine.”

This was it. I had volunteered to join the World Bank Group’s Myanmar Performance Learning Review consultations, which are being held across the country this month to obtain feedback from the government, private sector and civil society on our Country Partnership Framework. Approved in 2015, the partnership is the first World Bank Group strategy for Myanmar in 30 years and consultations are being held to discuss lessons-learned, review achievements and consider adjustments.

“Hakha in Chin state it is,” said my colleague Kyaw Soe Lynn with a smile.

It was at that point I began my research on Hakha, which is close to the Indian border. I learned that Chin is the second poorest state in Myanmar, located in the mountains and that the Flood and Landslide Recovery Project, supported by the World Bank, aims to rehabilitate a road from Falam to Hakha once the Environmental and Social Investment Assessment is done.

The experience from the trip itself had a deeper meaning for me and our team than the facts I’d learned during research. It was the experience of spending a few hours at a standstill on the road. This, however, was nothing compared to the people of Chin state who have spent decades at a standstill on the road to development.

This trip made us recognize the interconnection between roads and access to food, roads and access to education, roads and access to electricity, roads and access to services. We realized that the beauty we experienced could be a boost to tourism, if only roads were safer.
 

In Chin state, journey on the road can be treacherous, especially during monsoon season. Photo: Kyaw Htut Aun/World Bank

In order to get to Hakha, our team had to first fly to Kalaymyo and then drove the long stretch from there to Falam and finally to Hakha. We left at 7 am, excited to be on our first trip to Chin State. There was a light drizzle as we began our ascent up the mountain, but we could still take in the breathtaking view.  We were above the clouds and when we looked down there was a never-ending sea of green covered mountains. It was serene and uplifting.

At 9 am after driving 35 km, we came to a halt.  During the first few minutes, we began to assess the situation.  What we gathered was that there was a landslide blocking the road, which had occurred during the night.  There were over a hundred cars ahead of us. The view had changed to an enormous brick mountain of mud on one end and a smooth slick slope on the other end.

Around 11 am, we contemplated an escape route.  We thought about turning back, but realized that the road back was narrower, with cars blocking ahead and behind, not leaving much room to maneuver.  In addition, the roads were slippery and muddy making the journey treacherous.  We saw people walking up the mountain toting babies and suitcases, motorcycles trying to wiggle through the waiting cars. In the end, we and other people on buses and trucks, just sat and waited for the excavator truck to come and remove the road block, hoping that the landslide ahead was the last one.
 

A mother carrying her child walks on a slippery and muddy road after a landslide. Photo: Kyaw Htut Aung/World Bank

We gave a cry of jubilation when at 1 pm, we saw the excavator truck, signaling the end of our wait. 

By 4:30 pm, we finally got out and continued to drive over five hours along the windy and muddy road over hills and valleys, and finally arrived at Hakha at 7:30 in the morning.  It was during our 9:30 am meeting that we heard the words of H.E. U Pu Sui Thio, Chin State’s Minister of Transportation, after he expressed his appreciation for our trip during the rainy season.

“I wish the speed of implementing this road would be swifter than your voice,” he said.  He didn’t have to explain any further – we understood fully what he meant.

This trip brought home the power of experience, being in the situation, and talking face-to-face with our key counterparts.  The consultations and this trip brought back a sense of urgency in the execution of the Environmental and Social Investment Assessments so we can help build roads faster than our words.

After a review of the current Country Partnership Framework and listening to stakeholders across 14 states and regions including Chin, Myanmar and the World Bank Group agreed to a two-year extension. This extension will help Myanmar strengthen its programs and reforms that will promote growth in rural areas, improve nutrition, health and education services, create more jobs, and build better infrastructure. This means better roads and connectivity that allow Myanmar people to seize market opportunities in their region and beyond, setting the standards for future road construction in the country.

It has been a privilege to work for the people of Myanmar and for that – Kar Lun Tu – thanks for the friendship from Chin.

by · Wednesday, 28 June 2017 · India, Myanmar