August 20, 2016

Plugging in the national economy

Kyaw Thura

History shows that no country has ever enjoyed prosperity without the participation of its citizens and effective management. It is therefore necessary for governments and policymakers to solicit advice from scholars in order to devise practical solutions to the challenges of development.
As a developing country, Myanmar faces the challenge of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality by drawing up national strategies alongside effective actions based on solid research. Finding new ways to stimulate the private sector is absolutely central to revitalising the country’s troubled economy. Our country has long been undergoing a sluggish economy as a direct consequence of an inadequate power supply, thereby imposing serious constraints on foreign firms hoping to do business in the country.
It is encouraging, however, to see that the World Bank approved a US$400 million credit from the International Development Association to Myanmar on 16 September this year in a bid to help the country develop its National Electrification Plan, which will ensure universal access to electricity by 2030. Under the plan, over six million people will have easy access to electricity by 2021. In addition, the plan is expected to attract foreign investment.
According to the master plan, the demand for electricity is expected to reach 23,594 megawatts in 2030, of which 8,965 megawatts will come from hydropower stations, according to government reports.
It is understandable that the country sees a 15 percent annual growth in the demand for electricity, given the number of factories and industrial zones emerging across the country. After all, sweeping political reforms have endowed the country with ample opportunities to strengthen its economy and combat poverty.
Many pieces of the puzzle are already poised for placement. The success of Myanmar’s development will depend on whether these pieces are laid in a way that maximises efficiency and sustainability on the one hand and minimises human suffering on the other.


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