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.
Jenny Lei Ravelo is a staff writer for Devex. She covers breaking international development news in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Pacific for the Development Newswire, often focusing on aid worker security. Jenny is also a regular contributor to the GDB and other Devex publications.