If the 10-nation ASEAN bloc is to double its economy by 2020, then a large thrust of the growth rate will be coming from Myanmar.
According to consultancy McKinsey Global Institute, Myanmar’s economic output could quadruple by 2030 to $200 billion if the country maintains a steadfast pace of economic and political reforms. The report, released on May 30, said that Myanmar would have to diversify its economy away from the agricultural sector and towards more high-tech industries.
Under this formula, the Southeast Asian nation, crippled by years of Western-imposed sanctions, could generate up to 10 million jobs, lifting 18 million people out of poverty. Myanmar would then be growing at a projected rate of 8 per cent, double the average growth it posted from 1990 to 2010.
Additionally, Myanmar could also ride its wave of newly found investor intrigue attracting up to $100 billion in foreign direct investments over the next two decades. Already, it has found itself in a spotlight, attracting big-name investors, which, along with natural gas sales, could lead the country to manage a growth of 6.75 per cent in 2013, the International Monetary Fund has said.
Yet as enthralling as the Myanmar story is for investors, its tantalising high potential is met with the highest risk in ASEAN, with stems from the country’s seemingly insistent communal violence, civil war and inadequate infrastructure that could take years to meet investors’ needs.
"There is everything to play for – but also a major risk of disappointment," the report said.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has let lose a torrent of reforms that have resulted in the lifting of sanctions, largely first by the EU, then followed by the US.