Cia World Factbook BurmaWorld Cia Factbook Burma
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Burma - Country Index
It is a land of mystic and exceptional splendour, full of nature reserves, a wealth of culture and a vast ethnical variety. It is said that Burma has the greatest ethnical variety in Southeast Asia and is one of the most ethnic varied countries in the world. Myanmar is the biggest nation in Southeast Asia, and Burma has eight major ethnical groups, which have divided the Myanmar administration into 135 different tribal ethnical groups.
The CIA World Factbook (2014) shows that the vast majority are 68% of the country's people, with the Shan (9%), the Karen (7%), the Arakanese (Rakhine) (4%) and the Mon (2%) being the biggest nationalities. However, there are no trustworthy figures on Burma's people and other estimations have brought the proportion of people of different nationalities to a much higher threshold (see e.g. Smith, 1991).
While Burmese is the most widely spread tongue, indigenous groups have maintained over 100 of them. In Burma, most of the population is Buddhist (89%), followed by Christians (4%), Muslims (4%) and animists (1%) (CIA World Factbook, 2014). Most Burmese mainly inhabit the main levels, while most of their nationalities are from the mountains.
Burma had a flourishing and prosperous economic system a hundred years ago and was called the Rice Bowl of Asia, but today it is one of the world' s least prosperous and least advanced states. Despite the fact that robust humane military evidence has not been available for Burma for many years, especially in conflict-affected areas, decade-long civilian wars and maladministration have undeniably depleted a large part of the people.
Burma is the impoverished nation in Southeast Asia with up to 33% of the world' s poor, according to a 2007 CIA World Factbook (2014) assessment. Burma's per capita GNP was only $1,700 in 2013, behind the likes of Yemen and North Korea. 8 per cent of GNP for training (2011 estimates - CIA World Factbook, 2014) and 2 per cent for healthcare (2012 estimates - CIA World Factbook, 2014) in contradiction to what some have valued as up to 50 per cent of the state budgets for the army (e.g. Burma Campaign UK, 2005).
After Afghanistan (UNODC, 2013), Burma is the second biggest manufacturer of opioid and probably the world's biggest methamphetamine manufacturer (Wade, 2012). A number of analysts have cautioned that Burma could be the world's premier drugs state, and it is widely assumed that the Burma Armed Forces are using drugs to finance their armed forces, repression and plunder.
Whilst Burma has no outside enemy, the Burma Armed Force is one of the world's biggest armed services with almost 500,000 soldiers (according to estimations, see e.g. Aye Nai, 2012; ND-Burma, 2009). Whilst the level of spending on the country's armed services and the precise strength of its armed force remains uncertain, it is clear that the Burma Armed Force is being used to suppress its own population; it has destroyed more than 3,000 towns, murdered and torturing innumerable indigenous citizens and driven out two to three million to three million refugees in the jungles in East and North Burma or who have escaped to neighboring nations (Refugees International, 2012; U.S. Campaign for Burma, 2012).
In spite of Burma's abundant nature reserves and culture, its past is marked by extreme deprivation, violent policies and serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Whilst the construction of a democracy based on ethnical pluralism is without a doubt a singular test, the causes of intergroup hostility and inter-group abuse in Burma are deep in the complexity of Burma's histories and policies.