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Myanmar and ADB

In 2020, ADB provided significant assistance to Myanmar to address the devastating impacts of COVID-19 and financing for infrastructure, urban development, and upgrade of health services and facilities.

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:
$832.62 million

Paid-in capital subscription:
$41.65 million

Following steady growth over recent years, Myanmar’s economy decelerated in the 2020 financial year due to containment measures related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that disrupted business operations, constrained production, reduced consumption, slowed investment, and deterred trade. The pandemic caused loss of income, particularly among the poor and vulnerable groups of the population, and weighed heavily on the country’s poverty reduction efforts. Achieving political stability, maintaining fiscal sustainability, and controlling the pandemic will be critical for getting Myanmar’s economy back on track.

Since reengaging with Myanmar in 2012, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported 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 as of 31 December 2020 amounted to $2.05 billion. These were financed by regular and concessional ordinary capital resources, and other special funds.

ADB-Supported Projects and Programs

In 2020, ADB committed loans and grants totaling $1.1 billion for Myanmar. These projects included assistance packages to address the devastating impacts of COVID-19; financing for infrastructure in energy, transport, and urban development; and support to upgrade health services and facilities.

The $250 million support under the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program helped Myanmar respond to the pandemic by mitigating the impacts on people’s health, livelihoods, and the economy, while also ensuring that the poor and vulnerable benefit from the country’s economic recovery.

A volunteer health worker does malaria testing.

ADB also committed $30 million through the Greater Mekong Subregion Health Security Project to improve Myanmar’s public health system with regard to health security. In September 2020, ADB approved $180 million for the Yangon City Water Resilience Project to provide urgent water infrastructure needs associated with bulk water supply. The project aims to support Myanmar’s overall strategy of making cities more livable through the provision of better and more accessible urban water services. The project also intends to deliver a water-secure future for Yangon City.

In October 2020, ADB approved $483.8 million for the Second Greater Mekong Subregion Highway Modernization Project. The project seeks to develop a new four-lane arterial expressway between Bago (Bago region) and Kyaikto (Mon state) along the Greater Mekong Subregion East–West Economic Corridor. In addition, the project intends to enhance the public administrative system’s capacity to develop and manage expressways and ensure road safety in the Bago–Kyaikto corridor.

In December 2020, ADB approved $171.3 million for the Accelerated Rural Electrification Project to help Myanmar achieve its goal of universal electricity access by 2030.

During 2020, ADB also approved a technical assistance for strengthening Myanmar’s project implementation capacity ($1 million in additional financing); enhancing gender equality and social inclusion in a rural electrification project ($1 million); and developing policies and actionable plans to reform and modernize the country’s transport sector ($500,000).

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 in loans and equity investments from ADB’s own funds in 2020 amounted to $1.4 billion for 38 transactions in economic and social infrastructure, finance sector, and agribusiness.

ADB also actively mobilizes cofinancing from commercial and concessional sources. In 2020, ADB mobilized $1.9 billion of long-term project cofinancing and $3.3 billion of cofinancing through its Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program and Microfinance Program. Total outstanding balances and commitments of nonsovereign transactions funded by ADB’s own resources stood at $14.3 billion as of 31 December 2020. Total outstanding balances and commitments of ADB’s nonsovereign transactions in Myanmar as of 31 December 2020 amounted to $739.1 million, representing 5% of ADB’s total nonsovereign portfolio.

Financing Partnerships

Financing partnerships enable ADB’s financing 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 and Supply Chain Finance Program and Microfinance Program.

ADB began cofinancing operations in Myanmar in 1977. As of 31 December 2020, sovereign cofinancing commitments for Myanmar amounted to $1.84 billion for 19 investment projects and $79.97 million for 44 technical assistance projects; nonsovereign cofinancing for Myanmar amounted to $385.34 million for six investment projects.

In 2020, Myanmar received $254.8 million in loan cofinancing from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the Second Greater Mekong Subregion Highway Modernization Project, and $23.4 million loan cofinancing from the Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency of Thailand for the Third Greater Mekong Subregion Corridor Towns Development Project.

A summary of projects with cofinancing from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2020 is available at Confinancing: Myanmar.

Operational Challenges

Multiple constraints and risks, including the global pandemic that arose in 2020, weighed heavily on Myanmar’s progress toward achieving its development goals. Key priorities to transform the country toward a modern, competitive economy included massive investment in physical and social infrastructure and strong focus on capacity development and knowledge solutions.

ADB supported Myanmar in addressing its constraints to development through loans, grants, and technical assistance. ADB helped enhance capacity development and governance, promote private sector development, strengthen environmental resilience and disaster risk management, enhance regional cooperation, and improve human capital development. ADB incorporated conflict-sensitive approaches into its Myanmar operations, which helped enhance effectiveness of development assistance in conflict-affected areas.

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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