“Infrastructure Development Policy: Investment Perspectives in the Electricity Sector of Myanmar” & “Myanmar’s Developing Tourism Industry – Prospects and Perils”

ASIA FORUM with Mr. Phyoe Wai Thar & Mr. Thurain Win

Myanmar Development Resources Institute

Monday, 16 December, 2013, 10.00-11.30

Infrastructure Development Policy: Investment Perspectives in the Electricity Sector of Myanmar

Myanmar’s population is about 60 million with more than 70 percent living in rural areas. Despite an abundance of energy resources, particularly hydropower and natural gas, only 30 percent of the population has access to electricity. With increasing industrial and economic development, the government seeks to solve currently pressing issues such as supply shortages and power blackouts. Direct investment from domestic and foreign actors could potentially not only help to raise energy efficiency, but also support the country’s development in general. Latter had already been addressed through the new Land Law and Foreign Investment Law, but Myanmar is still at the beginning of a new development chapter. Elaborating on possible investment opportunities within the energy sector, the presentation will also give recommendations to various stakeholders.

Mr. Thurain Win is currently working on his PhD dissertation at Yangon University. He holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Political History from the Yangon University. Additionally, he is a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based at the Myanmar Development Resources Institute. While his thesis is mainly focusing on national integration, Thurain Win’s research also encompasses development policies, defense strategies, and infrastructure policies, amongst other things.

Myanmar’s Developing Tourism Industry – Prospects and Perils
After decades of military rule, Myanmar has just recently begun to open up for tourism. Yet, recent studies have shown that Myanmar still has one of the lowest numbers of tourists in the ASEAN region. While 2011 saw only 816,400 tourists coming to the country, it is estimated that 2013 will see 1.8 million travelers. Myanmar is currently hosting one of the largest sporting events of region, the Southeast Asian Games, which is supposed to give additional attention to its tourism industry. The country has also eased access for tourists by granting several visa exemptions.

Nonetheless, in order to truly comprehend its current development, one has to reach a better understanding of the history of tourism in Myanmar. In the course of the last two years, the country’s tourism sector has already grown significantly, but this also comes with certain caveats. There are now increasing concerns about the sustainability of the tourism sector and about the questions of reservations of old pagodas and other traditional sights. Furthermore, the development of the traveling business will also significantly depend on the success of the ongoing peace process. With these challenges in mind, Myanmar has a great opportunity to gain in multiple ways from tourism in the future.

Phyoe Wai Thar has previously received degrees in Tourism Management and Law. Currently, he is enrolled in a post graduate program in Political Management at the Myanmar Development Resources Institute/Center for Strategic & International Studies in Yangon. Being fluent in Italian, he has already obtained firsthand experience as a licensed tourist guide in Myanmar. Phyoe Wai Thar additionally has a great research interest in public relations policies, as well as in poverty alleviation initiatives.

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.