Technology to Solve Urban Challenges in Myanmar

While many nations are utilizing technologies to develop smart cities, Myanmar is pushing for urbanization development. During the 32nd ASEAN Summit, 26 cities from the 10 ASEAN countries were proposed to pilot ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) – this include Myanmar’s largest cities Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. ASCN aims to foster collaboration among the ASEAN members to achieve the common goal of developing smart and sustainable urban development integrated with technology. Realizing the vision of urban development, digital technology could serve as an enabler to improve standards of living and resolve urbanization issues where access to basic infrastructure and public services is still a challenge.

Below is a summary of Myanmar’s government efforts in developing urbanization projects, special economic and industrial zones and infrastructure in these 3 cities.


Yangon population is forecasted to reach 10 million in the next ten years. Urban development projects had been mapped out in the city and Yangon’s government is inviting investment in master plans from local and international entrepreneurs. Industrial zones, new towns and railway stations will be established as part of the plan. The city vision is to be an international hub with well-managed infrastructure and good governance. The projects are estimated to cost US$2.6 billion and infrastructure development spending is estimated to be US$1.802 billion.


(Source: Myanmar Times, 2018)
Mandalay is Myanmar’s second-largest city which is home to 2% of the population and generates around 8% of the country GDP. Weak investment in the city has resulted in the poor state of urban services such as water supply, drainage and sanitation. The Mandalay Urban Services Improvement Project have been planned to improve the public health condition and the environment where the city set the vision to be a clean and green city by 2040. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the French Agency for Development (AFD) had joined hands to provide financial funding for the project. In the initial phase, the project sets to improve the existing water supply system, wastewater treatment, lakes, drainage canals and increase water production. In the later phase, sanitary landfills will be programmed to construct to replace the northern and southern dumpsites which have been negatively impacted the environment.
Nay Pyi Taw (Capital City of Myanmar)
Nay Pyi Taw Council of the government is working towards the goal of turning into sustainable city and learning and research centres. As part of development plan, the Council are working to ensure security, cleanliness and progress to improve living standards of its population. It has commenced on upgrading agricultural sectors, agricultural sectors, transportation infrastructure, water supply, electricity supply, healthcare and education opportunities. Over USD$750,000 had been invested to improve transport infrastructure such as building roads and bridges and more than USD$350,000 had been allocated for education sector to increase the number of schools and teachers.

With urbanization, challenges such as air and water pollution, congestions and terrorism may arise. Many cities in Southeast Asia have attempted to integrate smart technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Sensors to solve these issues. Technology is an indispensable force for Myanmar to realize their urbanization plan which creates opportunities for technology solutions providers to extend their services to this new market. In improving water access, IoT sensors could be used to report and collect data in real time to monitor water leakages from supply system, a project that has been implemented successfully in the Philippines with Maynilad Water and can be useful to Myanmar too. Likewise, automated garbage trucks which are part of the smart city solution for Jakarta could also be adopted to improve waste management in Myanmar.

With Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw part of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, technology collaboration may help these cities accelerate its digital vision. At our 27th Edition of Asia IoT Business Platform on 15 & 16 November 2018 at Sedona Hotel Yangon, we will be sharing international case studies from Thailand, Philippines & Malaysia.

Soe Thein, Director General, Post and Telecommunications Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC)  and Khin Maung Cho, Minister, Ministry of Industry will also be sharing more Myanmar’s Digital Economy vision.

Drop me a note at [email protected], if you would like to know more about smart cities updates and business opportunities in Myanmar.

Lalita Phichagonakasit

6 September 2018

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