IV-2. “Study on Roadmap and Policy towards Economic Development of Myanmar” (H24-25 FY2012-2013)

  • Project Leader : Okamoto Ikuko (Institute of Developing Economies-JETRO, Area Studies Center)
  • Collaborators : Fujita Kouichi (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Mieno Fumiharu (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Kudo Toshihiro (Institute of Developing Economies-JETRO, ERIA Support Office)
  • : Nakanishi Yoshihiro (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)

Outline of Research

Since mid-2011, economic reforms have been gathering momentum under the new government in Myanmar. The reforms currently under consideration not only cover a wide range of sectors, such as fiscal and monetary, industrial and agricultural sectors, but also include sectors which the previous governments dared not engage with. Another striking characteristic is that these reforms involve various types of actors in the economy, who were never observed before. This study aims to identify the economic development path which Myanmar should pursue, through an analysis of the development of reforms and its relevant actors


Despite its advocacy for transition to a market economy, Myanmar’s economy has been flagging for a long time, because of its isolation from the international community as well as long-standing mismanagement of the economy, rooted back in the socialist regime. Even upon the establishment of the new government in 2011, a majority held the skeptical view that any fundamental economic reforms would be carried out in the immediate future. However, along with political reconciliation since mid-2012, discussion on economic reforms among the government, parliament, and private sector has become a vigorously debated topic. These include very critical reforms which were long overdue under the military regime, such as the issue of multi foreign exchange regimes, the enactment of a new farmland law and a revision of foreign direct investment law. With the sudden progress of political reforms, relaxation of economic sanctions by Western countries as well as an increase in international economic assistance is highly expected. As a consequence, Myanmar’s economy may have a chance to transform itself drastically within a very short term of period.

There is an impression, however, that these reforms are not been thoroughly contemplated and lack a holistic framework, as the new government is in a rush to achieve concrete outcomes before the scheduled general election in 2015 and to return to the international community. Therefore, this study will analyze polices towards reforming its economy as well as its actual development, together with the actors who lead these reforms, so that the proper economic development path which is suitable to Myanmar, can be identified. In doing so and by considering the historical transformation of political and economic regimes that is unique to Myanmar, the study aims to deepen comprehensive understanding of the country’s economic development process and to provide basic knowledge which can enhance the effectiveness of international economic assistance.

Agricultural labourers working in the dry zone

Reading newspapers on the street