MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Vice President for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Stephen Groff, travels to Myanmar today - the first extended visit by ADB senior management since the country began undertaking reforms earlier this year.

"As Myanmar's pace of change accelerates, more foreign investors and tourists arrive, and development assistance is offered, it is crucial that we gain a first-hand understanding of Myanmar's goals and priorities," Mr. Groff said. "ADB is beginning the process of reengagement with Myanmar and joining other development partners in helping lay the foundations for a brighter future in the country."

During his four-day trip, Mr. Groff is expected to meet Myanmar President Thein Sein and the Ministers of Finance and Revenue, Industry, and Planning and Economic Development. He will also meet with opposition parliamentarians, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and trade and investment entities.

During his stay, Mr. Groff will co-chair the Fourth Economic Corridors Forum of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), which is considering steps needed to boost cross-border transport and trade corridors.

While in Myanmar Mr. Groff will focus on developments in a number of sectors, including transport; energy; agriculture and natural resources; post primary education; trade, investment and private sector development; urban development; and water supply and sanitation. Discussions with government counterparts and development partners, who are expected to shed light on priority areas for future assistance.

ADB has not had operations in Myanmar since 1988. The resumption of ADB lending to Myanmar is ultimately subject to approval by its shareholders together with continued progress in the country's engagement with the international community, resolution of arrears, as well as allocation of Asian Development Fund resources.

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