Since the transition to a civilian government in 2011, Burma has begun an economic overhaul aimed at attracting foreign investment and reintegrating into the global economy. Economic reforms have included establishing a managed float of the Burmese kyat in 2012, granting the Central Bank operational independence in July 2013, and enacting a new Anti-corruption Law in September 2013. The government’s commitment to reform, and the subsequent easing of most Western sanctions, has begun to pay dividends. The economy accelerated in 2012 and 2013. And Burma’s abundant natural resources, young labor force, and proximity to Asia’s dynamic economies have attracted foreign investment in the energy sector, garment industry, information technology, and food and beverages. Foreign direct investment grew from US$1.9 billion in FY 2011 to US$2.7 billion in FY 2012. Despite these improvements, living standards have not improved for the majority of the people residing in rural areas. Burma remains one of the poorest countries in Asia - more than one-fourth of the country’s 60 million people live in poverty. The previous government’s isolationist policies and economic mismanagement have left Burma with poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, underdeveloped human resources, and inadequate access to capital, which will require a major commitment to reverse. The Burmese government has been slow to address impediments to economic development such as an opaque revenue collection system and antiquated banking system. Key benchmarks of sustained economic progress would include modernizing and opening the financial sector, increasing budget allocations for social services, and accelerating agricultural and land reforms.
Agricultural Processing; Wood And Wood Products; Copper, Tin, Tungsten, Iron; Cement, Construction Materials; Pharmaceuticals; Fertilizer; Oil And Natural Gas; Garments, Jade, Gems
Rice, Pulses, Beans, Sesame, Groundnuts, Sugarcane; Fish And Fish Products; Hardwood
CIA, The World factbook