Facts & Figures
Myanmar at the heart of Asia. Learn more about current developments and perspectives and contact us with your questions and inquiries.
|GDP growth (forecast 2018)||5.9%, GDP: 74 billion USD|
|Population (2017)||53 million people|
|FDI inflow (2016)||2.19 billion USD|
|total investment % of GDP (2017)||22%|
|Exports goods (2016)||11 billion USD; China, Thailand, India|
|Imports goods (2016)||16 billion USD; China, Singapore, Thailand|
|Exports services (2015)||3.86 billion USD|
|Imports services (2015)||2.44 billion USD|
|Current account balance (2017)1||-6.5% of GDP|
|Exports to Germany goods (2016)2||172.4 million USD; apparel, footwear|
|Imports from Germany goods (2016)2||76.8 million USD; machinery, vehicles|
|Unemployment rate3||0.8% (2015, ILO), 4% (2014, Myanmar Census)|
|Aggregated rate of labor underutilization||6.9% (2015, ILO)|
|Central Bank interest rate||10%|
|Lending/ deposit rate||13% lending, 8% deposit|
|Exchange rate (December 2018)||1 EUR ≈ 1,773.3 MMK|
1 The actual deficit may be significantly lower as exports are not always recorded.
2 Using mirror trade data gives significantly higher imports (155.8 million USD) and exports (358.8 million USD).
3 While the census asks 3 questions about the labor force, and only one specifically about unemployment, the ILO survey asks stepwise several questions about employment, which leads, eventually, to a much lower number of unemployed. There is no significant difference in the workforce.
Sources: Trade data: UN Comtrade and UNCTAD (FDI); Economic data: WB and IMF; CB of Myanmar for interest rates.
Myanmar at a glance
Politics and society
Myanmar - a country in transition with a strong cultural heritage
Following 60 years of military rule, Myanmar has embarked into a process of political reform since a civilian government with strong linkages to the military has taken over in 2010. Myanmar is a parliamentarian democracy according to the new constitution, which has been approved in a (contested) referendum in 2008. It has a two chamber system of parliament. The President holds executive power as the head of government. Censorship has been officially abolished, a number of local and English language media exist. Access to the Internet is not restricted. Following the victory of the National League of Democracy in the November 2015 elections, the country undergoes another phase of transition under the NLD led government, which has taken office in April 2016.
Among the challenges to be tackled during the next phases of political reform are the resolution of ethnic conflicts persisting since the end of the colonial rule and of religious tensions and resulting migration crises. Despite political reforms and a tangible modernization especially in the urban agglomeration of Yangon, Myanmar continues to be characterized by strong religious and cultural traditions of the Burmese Buddhist majority population. Following its political reforms and after years of sanctions, Myanmar has entered a close political dialogue with western countries. During the past decades, close links have been established with China. Since 1997, Myanmar is a member of the ASEAN. The EU has lifted its sanctions in 2013, the US in October 2016.
Myanmar's economy - catching up in a competitive environment
After decades of economic stagnation and isolation from western supply chains since 2000, Myanmar has entered a bold process of catching up. The basis is low in terms of most macroeconomic indicators. The economy is resource driven with oil and gas, mining and agriculture as the most important export sectors. The industrial basis needs to be strengthened and the country lacks value added processing and supply chains. These need to be developed to bring to bear the wealth in natural resources from oil and gas, to mineral resources, huge arable land with good soils and a variety of climates and a high level of water resources.
At the same time, a relatively strong private sector exists since private businesses have been allowed again during the early 90's. State owned military owned corporations still are major actors in a number of sectors.The most important business organization is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, UMFCCI. Furthermore, the government tries to attract foreign investment in view of know how transfer and job creation. Since 2012, quite liberal regulatory frameworks for foreign investors are in place. A new investment law for both domestic and foreign investors has come into effect on 1 January 2017. Restrictions for foreign companies to be active in trade and distribution are one of the biggest hurdles still existing.
Myanmar's population of 51 m is a strong asset when it comes to integration into regional and global supply chains. Comparably low wages levels and zero tariffs for imports to the EU and other western countries are among the competitive advantages of the country. Whereas most of the foreign investors currently focus on supplying the domestic market with fast moving consumer goods, cars and perspectively more elaborate consumer goods, there is huge potential for export production and relocations from other Asian countries because of rising cost levels there. Currently the garment sector is a driver in this field, with other light industries to follow. Special Economic Zones are meant to promote mainly export production. The first SEZ, the Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Yangon, has started operation at the end of 2015. Other zones in Kyaukphyu and Dawei are in an early phase of development or under discussion. While currently Yangon is the hub of industrial production, regional diversification is a must. Bago and Mandalay have good potential to attract investors with industrial parks on international standards under development. Find a collection of all investment related laws here.
Infrastructure and Logistics
A geo-strategic location - but with still insufficient connectivity
Myanmar is gifted with a geo-strategic location between China and India and at the crossroads of regional and global transportation routes. Until 2010, the country has been the missing link of a number of regional infrastructure projects funded by the ADB which could not be pursued due to the western sanctions. The integration into the regional economic corridors will now be a driver of infrastructure development.
And this is badly needed to bring to bear Myanmar's geostrategic advantages and pave the way for industrial development. Electricity generation is insufficient to cover current demand. An expansion of generation, transmission and distribution is needed, requiring huge levels of investment. Current master plans of the government aim to achieve countrywide coverage by 2030 with an installed capacity of 23,600 MW (from today's 4,800) and a shift in the generation mix, reducing the current 65% share of hydro power and banking on an expansion of currently non-existent coal fired power generation.
At the same time, the transportation infrastructure is weak. Myanmar does not have a deep water port. Ports in the industrial center Yangon are congested river ports but upgrading of existing ports and new developments near the Thilawa Special Economic Zone will significantly improve the situation. With just a few exceptions, trans-shipments are a must for container transports. An expansion of the road network and an upgrading of the rail network will be a prerequisite for an industrial development in other parts of the country. Capacities for air cargo are limited, with expansion projects for the Yangon and Mandalay airports under implementation and a new international airport 80 km north of Yangon in the planning,