October 22, 2012
This book gives a comprehensive outlook of Myanmar’s economy by focusing on main areas before the policy shift: the macro economy such as exchange policy, agricultural development such as on rice, industrialization, the management of natural resources, social infrastructure and others. These areas serve as a base for the current remarkably growing economy of Myanmar, conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis with independently gathered data.
In the past, the development of economy and society in Myanmar remained stagnant due to its political situation, despite the fact that the country was blessed with abundant natural gas resources and human resources of over 60 million people. While research on development strategy was required to cultivate the potential capacity as well as to enrich and stabilize people’s living standard, individual research and analysis were in many cases of small-scale, due to the limited access to information under its political turmoil. The research on comprehensive development strategy, therefore, couldn’t be carried out. In response to this situation, JICA-RI started the research project to promote a comprehensive development strategy with an accurate understanding of the status quo and history of Myanmar, effectively utilizing accumulated knowledge of JICA.
The JICA project entitled “Myanmar-Japan Cooperation Programme for Structural Adjustment of the Myanmar Economy” implemented from 2000 through to 2004 involved many members of the Project including Professor Emeritus Konosuke Odaka of Hitotsubashi University, who served as an editor and contributor. The then Project team offered the policy recommendation on the economic and social development to a then military government of Myanmar.
Data, knowledge, and human networks regarding—the historical background behind the economic policy shift, rice export policy, reform of the rural community system, industrial development after the liberalization of private companies, and social capital arrangement such as social infrastructure, transportation and electricity—all are valuable for further research and support for Myanmar, contributing to the publication of this book.
Haruyuki Shimada, one of the authors and advisor from JICA’s South Asia Department, commented on the objective of this book: “We expect persons engaged in development and policy planning to utilize this book for their actual aid and planning policies for Myanmar, as well as explain the present and historical context in easy terms for those interested in Myanmar’s economy. Each contributor, therefore, conducted a continuous field survey and took advice and suggestions from Japanese researchers, central ministries and aid agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICA, as well as private companies through workshops and the meeting to present the final outcomes.”
Under the fact that Myanmar has been rapidly changing, Shimada pointed out: “The current changes in Myanmar are not reflected in this book, since this book was written and the research consultation was conducted between 2008 and 2011. However, it is unlikely that the economy and social structure of Myanmar will make a drastic change in a few years. To understand the present and foresee the future, it is vital to observe Myanmar from a long-term view. So, the significance and value of this book never be detracted.”