Tuesday, July 25, 2017

World Bank Group releases policies for shared prosperity

The World Bank Group has gone public with policy notes for Myanmar that it said may be able to help the country move toward more inclusive prosperity.

World Bank Group representatives yesterday presented findings from the organisation’s report, “All Aboard: Shared Prosperity in Myanmar”, following talks with government officials from both the old and new guard.

The policy notes cover a wide range of issues facing Myanmar – narrowing the gap in access to basic services, reducing rural poverty and raising agriculture productivity, promoting a competitive business environment, enhancing financial inclusion, expanding access to energy, and strengthening public sector governance – diving into what progress has been made and what more can be done.

When the policy notes were still being finalised in December, the World Bank Group met with members of both the National League for Democracy – including vice chair U Tin Oo – and the incumbent administration. Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for East Asia and Pacific, handed the notes to major Myanmar political players on February 22, including NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Both Minister for Finance U Win Shein and Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint also received copies that day.

The World Bank’s Myanmar country manager Abdoulaye Seck said the organisation thought it important after the country’s election to drive “a dialogue on what policies should be adopted to deliver benefits for its people”. He said in a statement that the country can, like its neighbours, chart a course that brings inclusive growth. However, significant roadblocks remain.

“The country faces a long road ahead in addressing continued challenges to close disparities across Myanmar’s geography, ethnic communities and income groups,” he said.

Though challenges can be steep, the World Bank Group said in a press release that Myanmar’s economy has the potential to grow at around 8 percent per year in real terms for the next five years – and that the right decisions can ensure better pay and more jobs. “It is about making sure that when the rising tide [comes], it lifts all boats – basically, we all benefit from growth,” said Mr Seck.