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Kachin can be key state in accelerating Myanmar's growth: chief minister

Date: 28/08/2013
Source: Channel News Asia
Kachin can be key state in accelerating Myanmar's growth: chief minister

Kachin can become one of the key states to help Myanmar accelerate its economic growth. Kachin's chief minister said the state has fallen behind because of the civil war, but all that could change soon.

From its close proximity to economic giants like China to its abundant natural resources, Kachin, located in Myanmar's upper north, is well-placed to help lead the country in its development.

But plagued with civil unrest, the state with a population of 1.6 million has instead fallen behind.

Lajon Ngan Seng, chief minister of Kachin state government, said: "The ceasefire process takes time. But it would be better of course if we can complete the process faster. But during this process, the aim is to build trust between the government military and the KIA (Kachin Independence Army) step by step. We can achieve sustainable peace if both sides are committed to coming up with concrete solutions through more dialogues."

The chief minister is fully cognizant that without stability, foreign businesses will not be keen to invest in Kachin.

He said: "Development cannot be achieved without stability. If Kachin state is in peace, it'll be easy to develop this place. Our state is between the most populous countries of India and China and we're the nearest in distance to the two nations. We have water resources for hydropower plants which are essential for generating electricity. We also have a lot of natural resources. Our people are also capable.

“If Kachin is peaceful and attracts foreign investments, the people in Kachin will benefit from plenty of job opportunities and this will bring benefits and developments. Transportation will also improve quickly. Kachin then will become the most developed Myanmar state."

Lajon Ngan Seng has only been in his position for the last two years, but he is keen to move the state up the growth ladder as soon as possible.

He said: "My state government and the people are ready to work with the central government for developing our state. If Kachin is stable, I'm sure no one can stop the rapid development of this state."

The chief minister is also eager to showcase a different side of Kachin to foreigners.

Kachin is a state known for its jade and gold. But the people have not been able to fully maximize its advantages because of the ongoing conflict.

With the latest peace agreement, the chief minister hopes that the people will be able to tap the state’s potential and to develop and catch up with the rest of the states across the country.

Topic: Economy
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