Myanmar is a large, mostly rural country that is very rich in natural resources. It’s strategically located at the crossroads between the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia. The country began a democratic transition process in 2011 and has been experiencing sustained economic growth. AFD is providing support so that this growth can provide sustainable and inclusive development. Specifically, it is working in the fields of energy, urban development, water resources and health.
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Temple, Birmanie
AFD and Myanmar: supporting the transition towards sustainable and shared growth
Temple, Birmanie

Guidance for urban growth

city center, Myanmar, urbanization, Rangoon

Guidance for urban growth

The development of urban centers is essential for Myanmar’s economic expansion. Yangon, the economic capital, and Mandalay are undergoing unprecedented demographic growth, with their populations forecast to double by 2040. However, this very rapid urbanization is poorly controlled and creates numerous challenges: development of transportation infrastructure, construction of housing, and provision of basic services (water, sewage, waste management and electricity).

To support the government in improving urban services, AFD launched its first activities in 2016 to help the city of Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.

Our fields of action include:

  • drinking-water distribution in the Amarapura district; 
  • improvement of urban services (MUSIP Project) in partnership with the European Union and the Asian Development Bank.

Since 2016, AFD has also been taking action in Yangon to contribute to its inclusive urban development. Our support provides for:

  • aid in planning, development of river transportation, and enhancement of the city’s historical heritage in partnership with the European Union;
  • improvement in water distribution services in the Tarmwe neighborhood;
  • technical assistance to regional and municipal authorities in their urban development policy, with emphasis on adaptation to climate change;
  • improvement in living conditions in a precarious neighborhood with the support of a consortium of French and local NGOs.

Anticipating and monitoring risks of epidemics

technology, health,science, laboratory, Lebanon

Anticipating and monitoring risks of epidemics

Because Myanmar was isolated for so long, it’s lagging behind in the field of health. But Myanmar, just like its Southeast Asian neighbors, must deal more than ever with the emergence of infectious diseases and major risks of epidemics (dengue fever, zika, H5-N1, others). Since 2011, the health sector has been a national priority for the Myanmar government. The objective for 2020: to devote 12% of the state budget (compared to 3% currently) to health.

AFD’s support for this process:

  • In partnership with the Institut Pasteur and the Mérieux Foundation, we are participating in support to the Myanmar Ministry of Health for its project to rehabilitate and expand the National Health Laboratory (NHL), the former Institut Pasteur, built in 1903.
  • At the regional level, we are working along with this same laboratory to improve epidemiological surveillance in connection with climate change, as part of the ECOMORE regional projects. This program, implemented by Institut Pasteur Paris, also includes Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Enlarging access to electricity

energy, electricity pilone, Vietnam, Argos

Enlarging access to electricity

Power outages are frequent in Myanmar, and only 30% of the population has access to electricity. Yet, electricity consumption is increasing 10% per year – especially in Yangon, which represents 50% of national consumption.

Increase in electricity production is one of the priorities of the government, which has started construction of several hydroelectric power plants.

But as these won’t become operational before four or five years, AFD has provided for support to the Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy in renovating its existing hydroelectric power stations.

AFD is also studying projects to bring electricity to rural areas and to strengthen electricity networks.

Improving irrigation

fishing, fishes, fisherman, East Asia, Chabrol

Improving irrigation

Agriculture remains the greatest source of employment in Myanmar, which is a mostly rural country. Its rice production has collapsed in the last 50 years, and it now has one of the weakest yields in Southeast Asia. Its agriculture suffers from irregular rainfall and unsuitable agricultural practices. Access to irrigation combined with improved agricultural practices will be decisive in upgrading agricultural productivity, especially in the center of the country – a very dry and very populated area threatened by climate change.

To help guide the transition towards productive and sustainable agriculture adapted to climate change, AFD has developed (along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation) two projects that seek to improve water management and diversify crops:

  • the first one in the Magway region since 2016;
  • and the second in the Magway and Mandalay regions, with co-financing from the European Union and the Asian Development Bank. This more ambitious project provides for the rehabilitation of more than 35,000 ha of irrigated perimeters and support for farmers to help them in better management of water resources.

AFD is also working with the Ministry of Agriculture in setting up an effective system for fishery monitoring and surveillance. This cooperation will make it possible to fight more effectively against illegal fishing and to better manage marine reserves through modern methods (satellite imagery, modeling, etc.).

million euros committed in five years
projects financed since 2012

Myanmar is the largest country of continental Southeast Asia. Its geographical location is exceptional, as it borders India, China, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh. It also has nearly 2,000 km of coastline on the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Its population (over 50 million) is nearly 70% rural and concentrated in the central plain.

In 2011, after a long period of isolation, the country started up a process of political and democratic reforms.

Economically, the Myanmar Republic can count on an abundance of raw materials (minerals, hydrocarbons, forests), a tourism potential to be developed, and strong regional integration – the country has been a member of ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) since 1997 and maintains close relations with its Chinese and Indian neighbors.

But despite these assets and continued growth since the beginning of the democratic transition, Myanmar’s economy still largely depends on agriculture, which represents 29% of GNP. Poverty persists, infrastructure is obsolete, and basic services (water and electricity) are not ensured.

But reforms are starting to bear fruit. AFD, which has been present in Myanmar since 2012, is working along with the country to promote more inclusive and more environment-friendly growth. AFD’s actions consist mainly of loans to the Myanmar government, but it also provides grants to regional projects.

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