Mekong countries focus on priority development projects


Myanmar President U Thein Sein speaks at the 5th Greater Mekong Subregion Summit in Bangkok on December 20, 2014. Photo: Ye Htut/Facebook

Leaders of the countries that make up the Greater Mekong Sub-region are set to proposed a plan for further investment in priority development projects worth US$30 billion (K30,000 billion) as part of a 10-year development plan worth $51.3 billion, according to The Nation.

Myanmar is one of the countries in the GMS group that includes Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

The agreement came December 19 on the first of the two-day “Fifth GMS Summit” held in Bangkok, attended by delegations from the six countries and private sector representatives. The meeting, which takes place every year, concludes today when each of the countries’ leaders will attend, according to the newspaper.

More than 90 percent of the development projects concern infrastructure and transportation.

A key agreement includes tighter cooperation in the trading of electricity in order to promote economic growth and create closer links between the Greater Mekong nations. All the countries are finding demand for electricity is going up, yet supplies are proving more problematic.

Of particular interest to Myanmar, the meeting has agreed to encourage private enterprises in the six countries to expand cooperation and businesses opportunities in agricultural and agro-industry businesses, as every member state still mainly relies on its agricultural sector.

Between 40 percent and 60 percent of the gross domestic product of each member state comes from agriculture.

Myanmar still remains a largely rural-based economy with around 70 percent of the working population involved in agriculture or related activities.

China would play a key role in supporting many investment projects in the sub-region, as they could link many of its own infrastructure-development projects.

China is also trying to set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which should play a key role in supporting investment inMekongcountries, according to the newspaper. The bank proposal is a carefully calculated move by China to gradually remove reliance on outside financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank.

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