Regional growth just as important as major cities

Regional growth just as important as major cities

A new report by International Growth Centre (IGC), a research centre based in the UK, has stated that Myanmar’s economic development depends just as much on regional capitals as it does on the major cities of Yangon and Mandalay.

The report highlighted how important it is to develop secondary cities as part of the established plan for boosting the main cities in the country. The research centre is based at the LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science) and is partnered with Oxford University. It has offices in London and Yangon and has released the report called Urban Myanmar.

Strategic growth centres

The three main growth centres as part of the government’s economic strategy for Myanmar are Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.

Yangon takes its place as a crucial growth centre as it leads the country’s financial and commercial services, as well as exports due to its ports. Mandalay is up there as it is a major trading hub for northern Myanmar and should play a big part in many initiatives. Nay Pyi Taw retains its importance due to being the centre for the government.

However, the main thrust of the report warns against relying too much on the development of Yangon’s economy. It argues that inclusive development is vital, including the growth of regional capitals and secondary cities.

Cities like Yangon attract a lot of investment from overseas and develop quickly. They are busy importing new technologies for manufacturing, for example, giving firms based there an advantage. This can be seen with the garment factories that are situated on the border of Yangon, as well as the industries thriving in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

Moving industry out beyond key cities

The report said that secondary cities need to be connected with their regional towns and the main tier cities. This, along with border town and agro-industrial centres being linked will help to allow production to spread away from the main cities.

Secondary cities should be seen as regional hubs that are strategically very important for commercial gain. Similarly, the development of towns on the borders of cities can help to boost trade and support a national identity for the country.

Urban planning vital
Along with these suggestions, the report also says that urban planning is the key to make sure that cities become hubs of economic activity rather than centres of congestion and problems.

The three channels that make productive urban areas:

  • Deep local product and labour markets that allow workers and companies to find jobs or fill positions quickly.
  • Higher wages that attract workers to the cities.
  • Availability of intermediary services.

These have all contributed to the success of Yangon’s growing economy and workforce and need to be implemented in other cities, as well as regional towns for the growth of the country’s overall economy.

Htet Tayza

Transparency is key to attract investment

Experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) held a business forum at the Stock Exchange in Yangon recently. Its aim was to discuss the best ways to attract investment and increase stakeholder confidence.

Listed firms were invited to hear key speakers discuss disclosure and transparency standards in reporting. The conference was called Enhancing corporate transparency trends and a business case on transparent reporting and ongoing disclosure and was held with input from the UK Department for International Development and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Continue reading…

World Bank urges Myanmar government to implement changes in finance sector

A report (called the Observance of Standards and Codes or ROSC) from the World Bank and International Money Fund (IMF) has just been released.

Among its findings were that the revisions the government has made to its statutory institutional framework for accounting and financial reporting will align the country much more with international good practice. It praised the ‘good progress’ that has been made with the suggested amendments to the framework, but notes that these changes are yet to be finalised.

Continue reading…

The Many Advantages of Mobile Banking

Technology and banking are now inextricably linked. Over the last decade, the two have combined to form a new and ever evolving way of doing business in the finance industry, whether personal, business, investing or any kind of fund management.

The term FinTech (financial technology) has emerged as an umbrella word for all sorts of technological advances in banking. It can refer to smartphone Apps that give instant access to bank accounts to websites offering financial advice without high costs or long waits.

Continue reading…

Fintech arrives in Myanmar

With a newly burgeoning economy and an open market for the first time in 50 years, along with rapid advances in technology, Myanmar is ripe for fintech companies to offer new products and services.

All around the world, technology is transforming people’s access to financial management services, whether for personal use or for investment and business. Fintech start-ups are now capitalising on Myanmar’s speedy development and growing use of smartphones. It’s a market ready for low cost, user friendly, accessible financial products accessible online, whether from a computer or a smartphone.

Continue reading…

Will Myanmar’s economy mirror Vietnam’s growth?

Myanmar undoubtedly faces challenges when it comes to opening up its economy in order to flourish in the future.

According to a leading British diplomat, Myanmar has the potential to grow its economy by as much as 10 per cent, effectively following in the footsteps of Vietnam’s economic growth. In comments made at Bloomberg’s conference in Yangon recently, he went on to say that Myanmar needs to be speedy when it comes to opening up markets and making new policy in order to enjoy this growth.

Continue reading…

Myanmar’s Foreign Trade Rises in Latest Fiscal Year

Image of stocks online. Htet Tayza discusses Fintech in Asia.

Myanmar’s government is currently focusing on facilitating greater foreign involvement with the nation’s economy, to supply small businesses with the funds required to foster growth. Figures show that these efforts are paying dividends, as Myanmar’s foreign trade rose during the latest fiscal year.

Continue reading…

Singapore and UN to Promote ASEAN Financial Inclusion

Image of stocks online. Htet Tayza discusses Fintech in Asia.

Singapore has the most developed finance sector, especially in the area of financial technology (fintech), of all the Association of South-East Asian Nation (ASEAN) territories. The city-state is, therefore, well-placed to promote sorely-needed financial inclusion across the region, which its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has just teamed up with the UN to do.

Continue reading…

Singapore and London Named Top Global Fintech Sectors

Htet Tayza

We are seeing the gradual rise of a robust financial technology (fintech) sector around the world, with financial hubs such as London, New York and Singapore fast-developing thriving fintech industries. London and Singapore were recently named the world’s top fintech hubs.  Htet Tayza comments.

Continue reading…