Sounding off on how ADB can help Myanmar

The famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myamar. Photo by: ADB

This year marks the completion of the Asian Development Bank’s interim strategy for Myanmar. What might it next steps be?

There are several ways ADB can help Asia’s newest donor darling, according to Eaimt Phoo Phoo Aung, an Asia Foundation development fellow from Myanmar. These include expertise to generate baseline evidence and updated analytical data on the country’s socio-economic and political situation, technical and policy advice on legal framework reforms and developments through public and multistakeholder consultations, capacity building, and support for sustainable infrastructure development.

“I truly believe Myanmar needs ADB’s help, and ADB is willing to give it. Let’s hope that we can march together out of our current uncertainty toward a bright future of inclusive, sustainable development in this country,” Eaimt Phoo Phoo Aung said in an exclusive commentary for Devex..

Devex readers chimed in with their own suggestions.

ADB needs to coordinate well with the World Bank to avoid overlap or duplication in their efforts, Adam McCarty suggested.

“Ideally the Government of Myanmar would take some lead in making that happen,” he wrote.

For Anura Widana, donors like ADB can best help Myanmar by providing the country with specialists who not only have the best knowledge but also have the willingness to meet and consult with not just government officials but also beneficiaries on how to implement programs and report about their progress.

Donors likewise need to accord local communities with greater trust to plan, implement, monitor and manage development assistance, said Widana, who noted the example of the World Bank’s operations in Myanmar.

“For the first time in the history, rural communities have opened bank accounts and have received WB funds direct from the government account. The lessons appear to be promising, effective and meaningful,” he wrote.

What do you think? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

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The views in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect Devex's editorial views.

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  • Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability, and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.