Myanmar's energy sector: Some investment opportunities

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 27 November 2012

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

Jenny lei ravelo 400x400
Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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