Is Myanmar a third World CountryMyanmar is a third world country?
Myanmar: a regular development land
Burma was far removed from a regular nation in both economics and achievement. It has for many years been pursuing a whole series of damaging policy, among them several foreign currency parities and strict obstacles to it. The countryside has been hampered by the restriction on exports of key crop products, rules that compelled growers to cultivate strategic paddy instead of more lucrative crop varieties, and a prohibition on the use of arable land as security that actually hindered the provision of agribusiness.
The bad managerial record led to high levels of headline price increases and the state purse was used primarily to finance the army at the cost of educational and healthcare facilities. Consequently, Myanmar's economy has performed gloomy. This was the case in the region - a penniless, sluggish breeder in the midst of the most dynamically growing part of the globe.
However, the swift pace of macroeconomic reform since 2011 has made Myanmar a standard development state. The most important forms of macroeconomic reform are the standardisation of the currency regime, the liberalization of commerce and investments, a new act enabling the use of arable land as security and some improvement in tax openness. Finally, President Thein Sein's support for the implementation of the initiative on openness in the extractive industries will enable the general community to judge whether mine, natural-gas, and petroleum industries are willing to pay what they should and whether Myanmar is getting a clean deal in return for its natural-resource.
It is also clear from the country's recent efforts of reform that it is no longer an outsider avoided by overseas investment and wealth. They have boosted the pace of expansion and reduced levels of headline price increases. Burma is now expanding at the same pace as its ASEAN members. The early stages of the process of economic reform concentrated on the identification of fast track policies that have a fast track effect to help create momentum for further changes.
It has drawn reformers' interest to the need for makroeconomic reform and the opening of the economies to commerce and investments. Although Myanmar has normalized its domestic policy and geared its gross domestic product to the trend of similar South East Asian economies, it is far from a marvel of miraculous expansion. In order to outgrow the average for emerging markets and act as a top-performing nation, Myanmar must tackle the residual shortcomings.
Nevertheless, the state can seize significant business opportunity in the area of commerce and investments if it reconnects with the global economy. Burma is uniquely placed within strategic range of large developing states. Myanmar, having carried out some relatively simple reform, now faces the basic challenge it faces. One quarter of the population lives below the income threshold, infant deaths are higher than in similar neighboring nations and one fifth of those living in impoverished households are not at school.
Myanmar's main challenge is to alleviate livelihood deprivation through agricultural policies, create jobs for the population by promoting a more vibrant personal economy and providing better healthcare and educational wellbeing. It is expected that the country's new biodiversity will dampen the speed of further macroeconomic reform as there is greater interest in policy-making in the European Union and in civic life.
Myanmar leadership will need enough policy will to carry out the next reform trend, which will focus on government. There are still hard to reform. Burma needs to adjust its tax policy and cut the amount of funding the army is receiving. She is a research fellow at the Myanmar Development Resource Institutes Centre for Economic and Social Development.