Boats docked in Myanmar. The World Bank will provide $2 billion in development assistance to the Asian country. Photo by: Markus Kostner / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank on Sunday renewed its development commitment to Myanmar by announcing it will providing over $2 billion in development assistance, highlighting the increasing importance of the country to the overall growth and progress of Asia-Pacific.

During his first visit to the country, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim noted the hefty amount will be earmarked to support key development priorities like energy and health, just over two years after the former military state opened up to the world.

About half of the funds will go to providing enough sustainable energy to boost economic growth, and $200 million for health care. The rest of the amount will be divided among several development programs, including education, livelihood and improving the country’s business climate ahead of the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.

“[The assistance] includes founding of around $200 million … to help Myanmar make progress towards MDGs 4, 5, and 6, on child mortality, maternal health, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria,” Kim said in a statement. “The energy investment will also support development of a National Electrification Plan, enhance institutional capacity and promote regulatory reforms that are needed to promote private sector participation, which is critical to meet Myanmar’s vast development needs.”

This focus in healthcare and energy is crucial to the country’s development progress, as 75 percent of Myanmar’s population lacks proper access to quality health care services, and 70 percent don’t have a reliable energy supply.

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About the author

  • Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a former Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He previously covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics.