The government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar warmly welcomes responsible investors to seek and seize business opportunities in Myanmar, to support sustainable economic growth.
Myanmar is an agro-based country with fertile land and abundant water resources. Given the landscape profile, topographic dimensions and different climatic areas of Myanmar – not only perennial plants, but also crops such as rice, pulses and beans, fruits and vegetables can be easily grown. The government is aiming to transform Myanmar’s mostly traditional agricultural economy into a productive and sustainable agro-economy. To achieve this goal, increases in agricultural productivity and quality are required.
Key Opportunities in Agriculture
- Distribution of low-cost irrigation systems to rural communities (e.g. solar-powered, with instruction)
- Leasing of agricultural tools and machinery
- Distribution of high-quality seeds for higher yields (e.g. rice unification in cooperation with the Myanmar Agricultural Bank to incentivise conversion of communities to agriculture with higher productivity levels)
- Establishment of the production of fertilisers, crop protection chemicals etc.
- Contract farming (i.e. direct sourcing from rural communities – based on partnership agreements)
- Introducing value-added production / processing based on local agricultural produce (e.g. groundnut, sesame)
- Establish packaging / canning industry for agricultural produce
- Establishment of research and training institutions or demonstration farms on integrated agriculture, crop sequencing, fertiliser use, organic agriculture and agriculture-related business skill development
- Construction of warehouses and cold storage facilities
- Microfinance, microinsurance and trade finance services for farmers
Aquaculture and Fisheries
Given Myanmar’s 2,832 kilometers of coastline along the Bay of Bengal and in the Andaman Sea, fisheries represent an important opportunity for communities and businesses in the coastal areas of Myanmar (particularly in Rakhine State). Fishing grounds in Myanmar’s waters are relatively less exploited than elsewhere. The aquaculture sector is operating almost 50,000 hectares of freshwater ponds. Opportunities in the sector exist inshore (e.g. fish ponds, inland river systems and aquaculture), offshore, and in deep sea locations.
Key Opportunities in Aquaculture and Fisheries
- Capture and aquaculture of different types of fish, shrimp and prawn
- Fish and seafood processing facilities
- Fish food production
- Cooling, canning and packaging facilities
- Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge and enhance human resources available to the fisheries sector
Myanmar is experiencing a gradual migration process of people moving from rural to urban areas. This is driven by a diverse set of educational, professional and income opportunities. Along with the challenges of urbanisation, there are also opportunities for local and foreign businesses to help develop better, smarter and more liveable cities in the country. Changing demand patterns of the rapidly growing middle class opens up new opportunities for the distribution of a larger spectrum of consumer goods, as well as an emergence of new service industries (e.g. restaurants, entertainment, education).
Key Opportunities in Urbanisation
- Realisation of projects for affordable housing in Yangon, Mandalay and second-tier cities in all states and regions
- Restoration of colonial heritage buildings in Downtown Yangon
- Investments into systems for the improvement of public transport in urban agglomerations
- Establishment of parks and facilities for recreation and entertainment
- Provision of private healthcare facilities
- Establishment of private education institutions (e.g. private universities, business schools, certified vocational training)
- Smart traffic management and road safety solutions
- Urban waste management
- Water treatment facilities
- Production and distribution of consumer goods and lifestyle articles
Tourism and Hospitality
The tourism and hospitality sector in Myanmar has been rapidly evolving following the political and economic opening of the country. At the moment, foreign tourists (on their first short-term visit to Myanmar) mostly visit Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe and Mandalay. However, Myanmar offers many additional unexplored treasures of natural beauty – from Kawthaung in the tropical South-East, to Putao in the Himalaya.
Key Opportunities in Tourism and Hospitality
- Exploring new high-potential investment locations in hospitality and tourism
- Developing eco-tourism (e.g. sustainable hotels and lodges, along with respective activities such as trekking routes or tours)
- Building cultural and community-based tourism (e.g. development of shops for the sale of locally produced cultural goods)
There are many opportunities for investors to help Myanmar reach the objective of full national electrification by 2030. The installation of considerable additional capacity to the current 4,422 MW and the rapid construction of transmission lines are national priorities. In the medium run, Myanmar may even be able to develop into a net exporter of electricity to neighbouring countries.
Key Opportunities in Power
- Construction of medium to large-scale hydro and gas-fired power plants in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)
- Investments into the transmission system (e.g. high-voltage transmission lines between the North of Myanmar and Yangon)
- Realisation of small-scale hydro-power projects (e.g. to supply a village tract)
- Establishment of solar energy farms and wind power farms
- Provision of efficient and practical solar-power kits to communities currently off-grid, as well as of solar-power based solutions (e.g. solar-powered pumps, solar lighting)
- Upgrading of the current power infrastructure in urban centers and industrial zones
The manufacturing sector opens up opportunities due to the significant domestic market of Myanmar, direct access to the strategic markets of Southeast Asia (ASEAN Economic Community) as well as to China and India. Myanmar also has comparatively low labor costs, rich natural resource endowments, and a diverse agricultural base for further value-added production to help encourage growth of the manufacturing sector.
Key Opportunities in Manufacturing
- Labor-intensive industries in second-tier cities (e.g. Pathein, Bago, Hpa An) in areas such as production of garments and shoes, or assembling of toys and stationery articles
- Agro-processing industries
- Production of building materials strongly demanded by the national construction industry (e.g. cement, bricks, steel, glass, paints, doors, windows)
- Gemstone processing industries (e.g. jade, sapphires, rubies) to establish value-adding production such as design, cutting and polishing
- Capital-intensive industries (e.g. automotive, land machinery) particularly at locations with good access to international and national markets (e.g. SEZs)
- Wood-processing industry particularly based on hardwood and bamboo (e.g. furniture production)
- Developing the paper and cardboard industry
- High-tech industries (e.g. in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, Bago and Mandalay) based on local, regional and global demand and the opportunities through the proximity of international airports
- Chemical industries (e.g. pharmaceutical and plastic articles) based on local and regional demand
- Industrial services (e.g. waste water management, recycling, training)
The development of better infrastructure is an important requirement to be able to physically carry industrial and agricultural growth in Myanmar. The Government prioritises infrastructural and economic development along certain major trade paths through the country, in order to facilitate the integration of Myanmar into production networks of the Greater Mekong Subregion and Myanmar’s Western neighbours. The Government of Myanmar has experience in conducting infrastructural projects under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and other PPP agreements (e.g. in the railway and highway sector), and welcomes investors for infrastructural improvement projects.
Key Opportunities in Infrastructure
- Road, bridge and railway construction
- Construction and operation of airports
- Construction of ports
- Establishment and retrofitting of industrial parks and supportive infrastructure
- Logistics infrastructure
Extractive Industries (Minerals / Oil and Gas)
Myanmar possesses natural resources in abundance, including the following minerals: Alum, Amber, Antimony, Barite, Bauxite, Beryl, Bismuth, Cadmium, Chromite, Cinnebar, Coal, Cobalt, Columbite, Copper, Corundum, Gemstones, Gold, Graphite, Gypsum, Iridium, Iron Ore, Jadeite, Kaolin, Lead, Manganese, Mica, Molybdenum, Natural Gas, Nickel, Ochre, Oil, Oil Shale, Phosphates, Platinum, Salt, Saltpetre, Silver, Soda, Steatite, Sulphates, Sulphides, Sulphur, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten and Zinc. Investors may support the responsible exploration and extraction of natural resources according to international best practices. Myanmar is a candidate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Key Opportunities in Extractive Industries
- Exploration and feasibility studies for projects in mining, as well as oil and gas
- Medium to large-scale operation of mines and wells
- Offshore and onshore opportunities for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas
- Establishment of petroleum-based industrial, processing and supportive facilities (e.g. refineries, fertilizers, LPG, LNG)
- Value-added production based on natural resources
- Supporting industries, such as machinery, maintenance, consulting services
- Establishment of education and research institutions to broaden knowledge and enhance human resources available to the extractive industries sector
Myanmar is one of the leading producers of teak and hardwood (particularly Pyinkadoe and Padauk). In order to prevent unsustainable forestry practices and large-scale log harvesting, the Government of Myanmar strictly and effectively abandoned the export of unprocessed teak and hardwood in April 2014. This structural change offers opportunities to foreign and local investors to support the emergence of value-added and sustainable forestry (e.g. by establishing new wood-processing industries in Myanmar). Furthermore, stronger engagement of the private sector to help restore forests in an environmentally and economically sustainable way is desired.
Key Opportunities in Forestry-Based Industries
- Establishment of wood-processing industries (e.g. furniture production)
- Expansion of bamboo forests and bamboo-based production (i.e. handicrafts)
- Rubber-based industries (e.g. tyre production in Mon and Karen State)
- Teak and hardwood plantations
- Sandalwood-processing industries
- Community-based forestry