GE: Human capital is the foundation for Myanmar's growth

By Pete Troilo 15 June 2015

Andrew M. Lee, General Electric’s chief country representative in Myanmar. Photo by: GE

The Myanmar economy continues to heat up as investors look to take advantage of the country’s more open market policies. A new foreign investment law and corresponding rules have provided a formal framework to govern and stimulate foreign investment, established business incentives, and increased investor confidence across a variety of sectors.

Some estimates peg foreign direct investment in Myanmar at over $8 billion for the 2014-2015 financial year, which is more than 25 times what the country received in 2009-2010. For the next fiscal year, the country is targeting economic growth of 9.3 percent, which can only be accomplished if businesses continue to invest and expand.

Still, despite the country’s economic growth, many companies remain on the sidelines. Myanmar ranks 177th out of 189 countries in the World Bank Doing Business 2015 report, scoring poorly on most measures, including starting a business, protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts. Investors big and small cite major operational issues, such as business registration, banking and other administrative hurdles, real estate costs, labor laws and visa requirements, and talent acquisition as reasons for staying away, at least for the time being.

To better understand the risk and reward trade-offs of investing in today’s Myanmar and the importance of social investment in the country, Devex caught up with General Electric’s Andrew M. Lee, who serves as the American company’s chief country representative in Myanmar.

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About the author

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Pete Troilo

As director of global advisory and analysis, Pete manages all Devex research and analysis operations worldwide and monitors key trends in the global development business. Prior to joining Devex, Pete was a political and security risk consultant with a focus on Southeast Asia. He has also advised the U.S. government on foreign policy and led projects for the Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corp.

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