At a high-level gathering today (July 12), Myanmar's government and World Bank representatives discussed Nay Pyi Taw's commitment to an ambitious reform agenda to advance inclusive and sustained growth.
Organised by the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the event focused around constraints related to policy consistency and implementation.
Central to the conversation was the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, which is currently being finalised and sets out a comprehensive approach to push for immediate reforms, crucial to boosting Myanmar’s economic performance.
“As stated in the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, economic stability and strengthened macroeconomic management are an indispensable prerequisite for peace, security and other goals of sustainable development,” said Maung Maung Win, deputy finance minister. “The MSDP is well timed to mobilise resources to pursue this goal of bringing stability to our nation.”
The event provided a forum to exchange ideas on economic analysis and policy recommendations laid out in the World Bank’s Myanmar Economic Monitor, “Growth Amidst Uncertainty”, released in May.
It said Myanmar experienced a broad-based increase in real GDP growth, from 5.9 per cent in 2016/17, to 6.4 per cent in 2017/18. The report indicates a favourable outlook with growth expected to increase to 6.8 per cent in 2018/19 and other economic variables set to improve. But it warns about downside risks, including uncertainty in global trade and commodity prices.
“Myanmar has the potential to grow even faster than its current rate,” said Gevorg Sargsyan, the World Bank's Myanmar head. “The MSDP provides the framework to realise this potential by building human and physical capital and by harnessing innovative and creative power, including mobilising a dynamic private sector.”
The MEM also indicates that some risks have intensified, related to concerns over the slow pace of reforms and limited progress in addressing the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. In addition, there remain perceptions of bureaucratic inefficiency, centralised decision-making and protectionism.