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Myanmar and ADB

ADB operations in Myanmar address the strategic areas of infrastructure connectivity, human capital and skills development, and structural and institutional reform to improve the inclusiveness of the country's economic growth.

ADB's Work in Myanmar

ADB Membership

Joined 1973

Shareholding and Voting Power

Number of shares held:
57,810 (0.543% of total shares)

96,924 (0.729% of total membership, 1.119% of total regional membership)

Overall capital subscription:
$799.41 million

Paid-in capital subscription:
$39.99 million

Building on successful political and economic transformation, Myanmar is emerging as a prosperous nation. The country possesses abundant natural resources, a strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, a young population, and a sizable market with wide-ranging investment opportunities.

Myanmar’s long-term vision is to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth, with national reconciliation, equitable development, protection of natural resources, and job creation as overarching goals. However, despite notable success in the initial set of reforms, some challenges remain in both economic management and the peace process.

ADB first welcomed Myanmar as a member in 1973 and commenced reengagement in early 2012. ADB has since been supporting the country’s national strategies and priority programs in collaboration with other development partners.

The Yangon-Mandalay Highway is considered the best road in Myanmar.

Cumulative loan and grant disbursements to Myanmar amount to $1.51 billion. These were financed by regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, and other special funds.

ADB-Supported Projects and Programs

ADB’s country partnership strategy, 2017–2021 for Myanmar is based on extensive analysis of development challenges as well as comprehensive consultations with the Government of Myanmar and other key development stakeholders.

The ADB program aims to deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth and create jobs to reduce poverty. ADB operations focus on infrastructure for transport, energy, and urban development; education and training; and rural development. ADB also invests significantly in capacity development and governance; private sector development; environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and disaster risk management; regional cooperation; and gender equality.

A volunteer health worker does malaria testing.

During 2013–2019, ADB committed loan and grant projects totaling $2.4 billion for Myanmar. The bank designed projects to improve electricity supply and energy infrastructure; develop road networks and other transport infrastructure; improve telecommunications; and expand water supply, sanitation, and other urban infrastructure. Substantial investments were also made to modernize agriculture and improve rural livelihoods; enhance education and training to equip youth for employment; and prevent the spread of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases.

In 2019, ADB committed two sovereign projects totaling $246.2 million for Myanmar. The Rural Roads and Access Project will improve about 152 kilometers of roads in two largely rural regions (Ayeyarwaddy and Magway) and aims to make the roads more resilient to natural hazards, ensuring greater transport access for people living in four townships and 150 villages across the two regions. The Resilient Community Development Project will develop climate-resilient infrastructure and create marketoriented livelihoods for the residents of 2,942 villages in the Ayeyarwady, Chin, Sagaing, and Tanintharyi regions. The project will help identify, develop, and fund 3,000 community infrastructure subprojects (including village access or farm roads, small bridges, water supply, electric grid connection, and multipurpose centers) as well as at least 15,000 resilient livelihood subprojects (including new or improved climatesmart agriculture, livestock, fisheries, value addition to farm and nonfarm products, and acquisition of new skills and employment).

ADB committed three technical assistance projects for Myanmar in 2019, totaling $2.3 million. The projects will deliver vital support to improve the safety of highways along the Greater Mekong Subregion East–West Economic Corridor, and to formulate an investment project to deliver modern urban services in Mandalay; and enhance impact evaluation skills for the climate-friendly agribusiness value chains sectors. In addition to the technical assistance projects signed in 2019, the ADB Board of Directors has approved $26 million in technical assistance, financed by the European Union, to enhance Myanmar’s education and skills base.

A local market in Nyaung Shwe does business for most of the day. Traditional markets like this remain part of daily life throughout Myanmar.

Nonsovereign Operations

As a catalyst for private investments, ADB provides financial assistance to nonsovereign projects and financial intermediaries. Total commitments from ADB’s own funds (in equity and direct loans) in 2019 amounted to $3.00 billion for 38 transactions in economic and social infrastructure, the finance sector, and agribusiness. ADB also actively mobilizes cofinancing from commercial and concessional sources. In 2019, ADB mobilized $3.28 billion of longterm cofinancing and $3.69 billion of cofinancing in trade finance, microfinance, and supply chain finance programs. Total outstanding balances and commitments of nonsovereign transactions funded by ADB’s own resources stood at $13.78 billion as of 31 December 2019.

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s development partners, governments or their agencies, multilateral financing institutions, and commercial organizations to participate in financing ADB projects. The additional funds are provided in the form of loans and grants, technical assistance, and other nonsovereign cofinancing such as B loans, risk transfer arrangements, parallel loans and equity, guarantee cofinancing, and cofinancing for transactions under ADB’s Trade Finance Program and Supply Chain Finance Program.

ADB began cofinancing operations in Myanmar in 1977. Since then, sovereign cofinancing commitments for Myanmar have amounted to $1.57 billion for 17 investment projects and $53.97 million for 43 technical assistance projects. Nonsovereign cofinancing for Myanmar has amounted to $363.79 million for five investment projects.

In 2019, Myanmar received $3 million in grant cofinancing from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction for the Resilient Community Development Project.

Projects Cofinanced, 1 January 2014–31 December 2018

Operational Challenges

Myanmar needs to develop policy measures to improve access to basic services; ensure infrastructure access and connectivity; create a labor force that meets market demands; build a dynamic and resilient private sector; mitigate environmental degradation, climate change, and disaster risk; and promote rural development and agriculture.

ADB is working closely with the government to enhance the technical and institutional capacities of government agencies, develop projects that promote environmental sustainability, and improve the country’s business and regulatory environment to attract more private investment and increase labor market productivity. The government is making extensive efforts to streamline mechanisms for development assistance, and ADB has been intensifying its support to build the government capacity in areas such as project design and implementation, safeguard compliance, financial management, and procurement.

Long-standing conflicts across Myanmar add complexity to the operating environment, which requires adequate understanding and analyses of the country’s culture and background. ADB is integrating into its Myanmar operations specific approaches that help deliver effective support to conflict-affected areas.

Future Directions

Under ADB’s country operations business plan, 2020–2022, which aligns with the government’s Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan, 2018–2030, ADB support will focus on infrastructure (energy and transport) as well as education, skills training, and health care. The bank will invest in projects to build climate and disaster resilience; make cities more livable; promote rural and community development; enhance food security; strengthen governance and institutional capacity; encourage private sector investment; and foster regional cooperation and integration. In addition to providing development finance, ADB will seek to leverage financial resources from both public and private cofinancing sources.

A young female engineer at a construction site in Naypyidaw.

This article was originally published in the ADB and Myanmar: Fact Sheet. Updated yearly, this ADB Fact Sheet provides concise information on ADB's operations in the country and contact information.

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