The FINANCIAL — Myanmar’s economy is projected to stay on a steady growth path over the next two years, supported by economic reforms, strong global growth, and higher foreign direct investment flows, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report launched on April 11.
“With risks mitigated, Myanmar should be able to stay on a steady economic growth path in the medium-term,” said Newin Sinsiri, ADB Country Director for Myanmar. “Myanmar should be able to leverage limited public resources by effectively engaging development partners, foreign investors, and the domestic private sector to help finance its staggering infrastructure requirements, narrow regional socioeconomic disparities, and support the long-term development agenda.
The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018 says Myanmar’s economy will pick up speed just as inflation eased and the current account deficit widened. The report, which is ADB’s flagship annual economic publication, estimates Myanmar’s growth at an annualized rate of 6.8% in the six-month period ending in September 2018 and 7.2% in the full fiscal year ending in September 2019.
Agriculture, which provides about 30% of gross domestic product, will grow robustly, with better weather and favorable commodity prices. The industry and service sectors are expected to grow faster over the next two years, thanks to robust manufacturing production buoyant telecommunication services.
A risk to the outlook would be lackluster progress in economic reforms. Although measures have been introduced to deepen the capital market and better regulate banks, significant work remains in economic, social, and institutional reforms.
Encouragingly, the progress in December 2017 toward enacting a new company law can assure foreign investors that corporate reform will continue. Similarly, a government initiative to formulate a 238-point economic policy agenda, set out in the draft Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, will likely keep investors engaged. Building on these initiatives, policymakers should implement reforms expeditiously and effectively to buoy investor confidence and attract sizable foreign direct investments in the years to come.