Myanmar’s Economic Potential

Courtesy of STRATFOR (subscription required), an interesting graphic of  infrastructure and supply lines along the China-Myanmar border:

Myanmar's Economic Potential

Myanmar’s land borders, which abut India and Bangladesh to the northwest, China to the northeast and Laos and Thailand to the east, are rich in natural resources, mainly teak, minerals and hydropower. As such, these borderlands represent the country’s most promising lure for an influx of foreign investment, which is key to the country’s modernization. These areas, along with Myanmar’s sweeping southwestern coastline along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, also offer lucrative avenues of trade with Myanmar’s neighbors and for the country’s broader connectivity to Greater Asia.

While offering substantial benefits to an emerging Myanmar, the country’s natural resources and strategic proximity to regional powers also make the regime in Naypyidaw nervous. Inherent in the Burmese psyche is a historical antipathy and insecurity regarding external exposure, which at times has led to an anti-mercantile outlook and a stubborn tendency toward self-sufficiency. Bitter memories of colonial exploitation and ongoing armed conflict with insurgents in the porous borderlands have intensified this national insecurity and undermined any concerted effort to build a modern nation-state. As a result, the country has been in self-imposed isolation, for the most part, for the past 60 years.

This appears to be changing. With a national reconciliation currently underway, the central government is trying to build relationships with the outside world and unlock Myanmar’s growth potential by increasing trade and foreign investment. This desire has been evident in the launching of or planning for a host of ambitious infrastructure development projects and the creation of special economic zones. At the same time, Naypyidaw has begun amending its regulatory environment to make it more business friendly and open to the outside world. While Myanmar’s current emergence looks promising, there is still a chance that ethnic divisions and perceived external threats could turn the regime ever more inward.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 10:04 pm and is filed under Uncategorized.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.