Myanmar Country profile

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Myanmar was ruled by a military dictatorship for much of the last 50 years, resulting in decades of isolation. This weighed heavily on investment and incomes. Positive steps toward democracy had warmed relations with the international community. But the displacement of the Rohingya minority have strained relations with the West.

Growth slowed in 2018 as robust agricultural production, 30% of GDP, has been more than offset by weaker foreign investment and softer tourism arrivals. The IMF expect growth will average 7% p.a. over the next five years driven by stronger investment in both physical and human capital. Adding further upside to the outlook is greater ASEAN integration, which will give Myanmar greater access to some 600 million consumers. But the economy remains in transition and will struggle to compete with its more developed neighbours. Furthermore, failure to resolve the Rohingya crisis will pose significant risks to the investment climate.

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Per capita income has risen 50% since 2010 and the economy is now classed as lower-middle-income. But poverty remains rife with around 46% of the population estimated to be living below the poverty line. The United Nations Development Index, a broad measure of living standards, ranks Myanmar in the bottom quartile of countries.

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