This article provides an overview of Myanmar for those keen on exploring the possibility of living and working there. The information presented is gathered from open sources and is not exhaustive or meant to supplement or substitute legal and professional advice.
- Official name: The Republic of the Union of Myanmar
- Land Area: 67,6552.69738 sq km
- Population (2014): 51,486,253
- Capital: Nay Pyi Taw
- Head of government: President Win Myint
- GDP (2015): Kyat Million 72,780,454.5
- GDP Per Capita (2015): Kyat 1,265,659
- Major cities (2014 census): Yangon (7.355 million), Mandalay (6.14588 million), Bago (4.863455 million), Nay Pyi Taw (1.158368 million)
Myanmar shares a border with China to the north and northeast. It borders Lao PDR and Thailand to the east and southeast respectively, the Andaman Sea to the south, and the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh and India to the west.
Data source: World Bank in Myanmar, 2017.
Myanmar is one of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing economies. Its economy grew 7.3 percent in 2012, 8.4 percent in 2013, 8 percent in 2014, 7 percent in 2015 and 5.9 percent in 2016. In the medium term, economic growth is expected at 7.1 percent per year. Growth will be driven mainly by economic reforms, public consumption and private investments.
Myanmar’s economy is being liberalised to develop a market-oriented system as well as to provide support to the development of the agriculture, industry and infrastructure sectors. Foreign exchange control was abolished in April 2012, and in 2014, the Central Bank of Myanmar gave nine foreign banks the license to operate in the country.
Economic liberalisation is also evident in the telecommunications sector when the government gave two international telecommunications operators the license to operate in the country for a period of 15 years.
Myanmar has a large service sector which accounts for 46 percent of GDP. Industry and agriculture account for 28 percent and 26 percent of GDP respectively. The country’s major industry sectors are agricultural processing, manufacturing, construction and transportation.
A sizeable amount of foreign investment had gone to two industries, namely power (US$19.324542 billion) and oil and gas (US$17,592578 billion), as at 31 March 2015. In 2014–2015, the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) was from Singapore, with 43 enterprises investing US$4.297185 billion in the country. As of March 2015, 154 enterprises from Singapore had invested a total of US$8.819552 billion in Myanmar. Of these, US$1.790094 billion were invested in hotels and commercial complexes.
The country’s trade has been growing. In 2013–2014, Myanmar’s chief exports were gas (US$3.299 billion), agricultural produce (US$1.058 billion) and timber (US$898 million). Total imports grew from US$896.9 million for the period 1995–1996 to US$12,523.7 million for the period 2014–2015. Similarly, imports have also increased over the same period, growing from US$1.8319 billion to US$16.6332 billion. Major import items in 2014–2015 included machinery and transport equipment (US$4.7476 billion), manufactured goods (US$2.83437 billion), and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (US$2.36325 billion).
Trade with Singapore has also grown. Exports to Singapore grew from US$456.99 million in 2010–2011 to US$758.8 million in 2014–2015. The country’s imports from Singapore also increased over the same period, from US$1.64532 billion to US$4.13737 billion.
Myanmar received 3,443,009 tourists in 2014–2015, a 53 percent increase from the 2,247,117 visitors who arrived in 2013–2014. By 2016, total visitor arrivals reached 12.72596 million. In particular, visitor arrivals from Singapore increased from 103,215 to 138,255 over the same period. In 2016, visitor numbers from Singapore reached 50,198.