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Asia Foundation and DaNa Facility Launch New Program to Improve Subnational Business Environment in Myanmar

Yangon, July 11, 2017 — The Asia Foundation and the DaNa Facility, implemented by DAI Europe, have launched a three-year U.K. Department for International Development (DFID)-funded program to improve state and regional competitiveness in Myanmar and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth through creating a sound business environment. The private sector is commonly acknowledged among stakeholders as the main driver to long-term economic prosperity and stability in Myanmar.  The program will promote dialogue between businesses, national and sub-national governments, and other stakeholders with regards to business environment reforms to promote competitiveness.

The keystone of the program will be the Myanmar Business Environment Index (Myanmar BEI), which will identify key constraints and areas for improvement in the regulatory environment at the state and regional level. The Myanmar BEI will raise awareness among key stakeholders on opportunities for business environment reform. The Asia Foundation has pioneered and implemented similar indices, including Vietnam’s Provincial Competitiveness Index, and other tools in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Mongolia.

The Myanmar BEI will be generated from a nationwide survey of Myanmar businesses across the country’s states and regions. The index aims to promote streamlining of regulatory practices at the sub-national level to facilitate private sector development and to remove unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles and opportunities for rent seeking. In this way, it will serve as a diagnostic tool for evaluating the local business environment in Myanmar.

“For many Myanmar micro, small, and medium enterprises, the first engagement with government is at the township level, whether this involves business registration, tax collection, or inspection of a business,” said Dr. Kim Ninh, country representative for The Asia Foundation in Myanmar. “To improve the business environment in Myanmar, a better understanding is needed of the aspects of local economic governance that facilitate or restrain day-to-day business activity.”

“Economic governance indices are a valuable tool for providing relevant information on the business environment to the business community, policymakers, and other stakeholders,” continued Dr. Ninh. “The index will provide a specialized instrument to measure the specific policy actions of national and subnational authorities to spur progress on the local business environment.”

“Achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Myanmar requires a better business environment in each of Myanmar’s states and regions,” said Mr. Peter Brimble, Team Leader for the DaNa Facility. “The Myanmar BEI will provide businesses and policymakers with insights into how to improve the business environment in each state and region across Myanmar.” The Myanmar BEI will also reinforce efforts to develop state and region investment promotion and facilitation strategies by the newly-formed state and region investment committees.

The three-year project will involve nationwide surveys in years 1 and 3, with extensive outreach and dissemination in years two and three.

The DaNa Facility, implemented by DAI Europe and KPMG, supports inclusive economic growth and private sector development in Myanmar, through responsible and sustainable business growth, investment and trade. The DaNa Facility is a Department for International Development (DFID)-funded, 4.5 year programme, established in May 2016 as one of three components of DFID’s wider ‘Business for Shared Prosperity’ (BSP) programme.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century—governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation.

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Related locations: Myanmar
Related programs: Inclusive Economic Growth

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