“Myanmar can actually leapfrog and doesn’t need to worry about a legacy problem which is faced by many other developing countries.” -E-Government Department, MOTC
Last November at the inaugural Asia IoT Business Platform Myanmar, U So Thein, Director General of the Burmese Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) stated a major factor in Myanmar’s rapid progression since its liberalization had been from the information and communication technology sector, because investments in telecommunications infrastructure has been a key contributing factor to the country’s GDP for the past 2 years. Also, at the same meeting, U Thaung Tin, former Deputy Union Minister of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology highlighted the government was willing and ready to embrace nationwide digital transformation.
The DEDC was formed last July with the mission to promote the development in economy and public services using digital technology and a 5-year master plan is being drafted now.
So, what are the current projects aiming at digital economy in Myanmar? Let’s look at some of the latest updates from the infrastructure and urban development sides.
Infrastructure and connectivity
The Ministry of Transport and Communications shared in an interview a few months ago that the government was working on a long-term plan to revitalize and modernize public transport infrastructure. Over US$60 billion of investment is needed over the next 2 decades but the government only has the budget to cover one third of the cost. While the Ministry is working on cost cutting, it is also actively seeking more PPPs, stating that banging on China’s help may not be sustainable in a long run.
Last month, Mytel launched its services in the country, offering 80% of 2G and 4G network coverage, and is officially Myanmar’s fourth telecom operator. With this launch, it makes Mytel the first public telecom operator and the first to offer 4G services directly in the country. The next item on Mytel’s to-do list is to extend their coverage to 90%, providing internet connection to rural areas as well.
The latest launch of urban development project is the New Yangon City project. It was launched in early April this year, by the Yangon Region Government. The Yangon urban development master plan will emphasize on 42 projects, 25 projects under the urban development management sector (US$855 million) and 17 projects under the infrastructural development sector (US$1.8 billion), at an estimated total cost of US$2.6 billion. More specifically, among these projects, there are 9 urban development projects, 10 central business district renovation projects and 9 social services and management projects.
The investment recommendation to foreign businesses is to invest in smart city projects in northeast Yangon, industrial zones in Dagon East and South and low-cost housing projects in the Southwest Yangon.
More details will be shared at the 27th Asia IoT Business Platform, 15-16 November at Sedona Hotel, Yangon, it will also be the 2nd annual Myanmar edition. If you are interested in technology developments in Myanmar, please leave a comment in this article or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you shortly.
Also, for your reading pleasure, here's more about ASEAN digital transformation developments.