Myanmar's energy sector: Some investment opportunities

Temples in Bagan, Myanmar. Businesses looking into investing in Myanmar may want to focus their attention on the country’s energy sector, which has “suffered from decades of under-investment.” Photo by: Javier Martin Espartosa / CC BY-NC-SA

Businesses looking into investing in Myanmar may want to focus their attention on the country’s energy sector, which has “suffered from decades of under-investment,” according to a multilateral development bank working to resume lending to the Asian country.

The Asian Development Bank has released the results of an initial assessment of the country’s energy sector done in October. This follows the bank’s approval of an interim strategy in Myanmar, which includes the construction of basic infrastructure and support for social services. The ADB, however, can only push through with such activities once the country has cleared its debt with the multilateral development bank.

The ADB has listed some investment opportunities relating to energy in Myanmar. These include the construction of gas power plants in Yangon as well as of a 500kV transmission line from the north to the former capital city, and the rehabilitation of coal and gas-fired generation plants, refineries and natural gas pipelines in Myanmar.

The country is rich in energy resources, such as oil and gas reserves, Stephen Groff, ADB vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific said in an op-ed in July.

These opportunities, however, could face potential roadblocks, such as poor legal and regulatory frameworks. Myanmar has only started opening up this year, and development plans, Groff said, could falter without investments in human capital and capacity building of public officials.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.