MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Myanmar have agreed on a new Interim Country Partnership Strategy that sets the stage for ADB's re-engagement in the country.

"ADB will work with the government to create jobs and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth that benefits the country as a whole," said Stephen Groff, ADB's Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. "This strategy will guide our re-engagement with Myanmar to make sure that the country is set on a path of sustainable and inclusive growth."

A central pillar of ADB's re-engagement with Myanmar is improving connections to narrow the income gap between the urban and rural areas within the country and close the development gap with its neighbors. To boost growth throughout the country, ADB will work with the government to identify key infrastructure investments, particularly in transport and energy. ADB will also work with communities on rural infrastructure projects and develop other projects to improve the livelihoods in rural areas where the majority of people live, including in ethnic minority areas.

In the near term, ADB will roll out a series of grants aimed at helping government ministries, including in the critical area of education, to better plan and implement development programs and projects, manage the reform process, and improve data gathering.

The strategy and upcoming grants respond directly to the priorities for reform pinpointed in ADB's preliminary economic and sector analyses, including strengthening key public institutions, a stable economy and government finances, improving economic policies and the business environment, promoting good governance, ensuring transparent financial management, addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, and supporting rural development.

The Interim Country Partnership Strategy, which will cover the period 2012-2014, was developed in consultation with government, civil society, the private sector, and other development partners. ADB will formulate an investment program and funding targets for the country once the government has settled its outstanding arrears with ADB. ADB is working closely with the government and other creditors regarding the arrears.

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