The Myanmar election is on Nov. 8th though the voting has been happening in stages by age for the last week. We should know the results of the election next week. But what happens next? Clearly Myanmar is expecting a sustained spike in COVID cases that will likely not subside for quite a while or never until it reaches herd immunity or there is a vaccine. Either way the next year will be hard to predict. Here’s my thoughts on some big things that will happen and that the government will work on during this time.
Decentralization of Government
Although some of the ethnic states elections have been postponed, there will be a greater move toward decentralization of the government from Nay Pyi Taw to the regional governments. This is a welcomed sign for a healthy and growing democracy. Myanmar has a weak federal system and is moving toward strengthening it by having each state and division be self-managed. Sui Kyi has done a lot to promote investment in all of these different regions and she’ll continue to promote investment. There are still a lot of complications with the border regions with Fighting and illegal business running rampant. Still there is hope that once the government is more decentralized, more groups will want to be involved and create more equity.
Peace is unlikely within the next 5 years. But you can be sure to see that some armed groups will be more interested in peace if they see economic growth in other parts of Myanmar because of the growing economy. Sui Kyi and NLD first focused on corruption and peace in the first two years of their government but soon found it to be futile. The result was lack of economic growth and frustration by not only the cronies but also regular people that expected to see economic growth. The last 2 years have seen a shift in focus to the economy. This shift will be likely to be the reason for peace. Even economic growth within all states and divisions will lead to more peace.
The government has a number of large solar projects that will be built out in the next couple of years. With electrification comes productivity and efficiency. Expect a lot more jobs created and business growth in the rural mostly ethnic areas.
There has started to be a large investment in Myanmar made products. Some of this is food products, higher quality agriculture products, and textiles. Myanmar will start to grow in these areas more. It’s already expanded its quality coffee growing abilities. You’ll start seeing higher quality products from agriculture and manufacturing coming out of Myanmar soon.
Conclusion: Myanmar will see greater infrastructure development, growth in agriculture and manufacturing, and see more strength developed across the board in the government. There are a lot of positives in the future of Myanmar but everything is just at the beginning. Myanmar needs time to show it’s potential.
By - Ryan Russell (CEO of Myanmar Business Answers)