A large, predominantly rural territory rich in natural resources, Myanmar (formerly Burma) enjoys a strategic geographical position between the Indian subcontinent, China and Southeast Asia. Since 2011, the country has initiated a fragile process of democratic transition and is witnessing relatively strong economic growth. AFD is supporting it so that the growth leads to sustainable development and solidarity, by acting primarily in the areas 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

Providing support for urban growth

city center, Myanmar, urbanization, Rangoon

Providing support 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 urban services (MUSIP 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 capital and plans to change scale in order to take action at the neighbourhood level and work on river transport and its connection to other means of transport.

Anticipating and monitoring risks of epidemics

technology, health,science, laboratory, Lebanon

Anticipating and monitoring risks of epidemics

The long years of Myanmar’s isolation have led to a significant delay in the health sector even as the country, like its Southeast Asian neighbours, is facing the emergence of infectious diseases and the risk of major epidemics (dengue, zika, H5-N1,etc.) more than ever before. Since 2011, the health sector has been a national priority for the Myanmar government. Its target for 2020 is to allocate 12% of the state budget to the sector (as compared to the current 3%).

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 collaborate with the same laboratory to improve epidemiological surveillance related to climate change in the framework of regional ECOMORE projects. The second phase of this programme, implemented by Paris’ Institut Pasteur was initiated in early 2018. Focussing on dengue and leptospirosis, it also covers Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Expanding access to electricity

energy, electricity pilone, Vietnam, Argos

Expanding 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 ac-counts for 50% of national consumption.
Increasing power generation is one of the government’s priorities and 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.

Better management of natural ressources

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. Its 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 with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation 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.

On a more regional scale, AFD has developed several projects for the preservation of local natural resources:

  • In Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the ACTAE project promotes agroecology in national research, practices and strategies
  • In the Indo-Myanmar biodiversity hotspot, we support the sustainable management of protected areas, while involving communities;
  • in Myanmar, protected land and marine area of Thanintaryi province will benefit from a regional project implemented by the NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society.
  • 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.
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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