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


city center, Myanmar, urbanization, Rangoon

Guidance for urban growth

The development of urban centres is essential for Myanmar's economic expansion. Yangon, the economic capital, and Mandalay are witnessing anunprecedented population growth – theirpopulation is expected to double by 2040. However, thehighly rapid urbanization is poorly controlled and presents many challenges: developing transport infrastructure, building housing and provide basic services (water, sanitation, waste management and electricity).

In order to support the government in improving urban services, AFD launched its first activities in support of the municipality of Mandalay in 2016. Our areas of action are the:

  • Distribution of drinking water in Amarapura district
  • Improvement of Mandalay urban water supply and treatment services (MUSIP project- Mandalay Urban Services Improvement Project) in partnership with the European Union and the Asian Development Bank.

Since 2016, AFD has also been active in Yangon to contribute to inclusive urban development in the city through a project led by international and local NGOs and supporting the co-construction of an integrated strategy for the economic and social development of a precarious neighbourhood. The project is under appraisal (TWHUP – Transport, Waterways and Heritage Urban Project).

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 ECOMORE (ECOnomic, development, ECOsystem Modifications, and emerging infectious diseases Risk Evaluation) 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

In Myanmar, power cuts are frequent and only 30% of the population is connected to the grid. At the same time, power consumption is increasing by 10% every year, especially in Yangon, which accounts for 50% of national consumption.

Increasingpower generation is one of the government's prioritiesand it has begun building several hydroelectric plants.

Pending their commissioning (within 4-5 years), AFD plans to support Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy in the renovation of its existing hydroelectric plants.

AFD is also examining rural electrification projects and the strengthening of electricity grids.


Canaux d'irrigation en Birmanie


While agriculture remains the largest employer in Myanmar, a predominantly rural country, rice production in the country collapsed 50 years ago. The agricultural sector suffers from random rainfall and unsuitable practices. Access to irrigation, combined with improved farming practices, will be the key to improving the sector’s productivity.

To support this transition, AFD has developed two projects (IAIDP - Irrigated Agriculture Inclusive Development Project - and PIP - Development of pumped irrigation schemes in arid areas) with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, which aimed at improving water management and diversifying crops in the Magway and Mandalay regions, co-funded with the European Union and the Asian Development Bank.

These projects are complemented by a regional project, ACTAE, to promote agro-ecological practices in terms of research, operators and national strategies.Finally, Myanmar is to be included for the first time in a project to promote Geographical Indications with the objective of preserving and enhancing the local cultural and natural heritage.

AFD also supports the sustainable management, involving communities, of a land and a marine protected area in Thanintaryi province. This action is part of a regional project implemented by the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society on the Indo-Burmese hotspot, which is one of 36 "hot spots" designated by Conservation International for their high biodiversity richness and threatened nature.

million euros invested over six years
projects financed since 2012
hectares of irrigated areas by 2021

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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