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Project aims to improve health and electricity services


Waiting in a clinic in Kaying State. Photo: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Waiting in a clinic in Kaying State. Photo: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

About three million pregnant women and children in Myanmar are expected to benefit from improved health services, and six million people will have better access to electricity and other basic services in the next three years under the World Bank’s first full partnership framework in 30 years, according to a press release on April 23.

The 2015-17 Country Partnership Framework (CPF) endorsed today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors will provide up to $1.6 billion [K1,600 billion] in credits, loans and grants, as well as technical assistance and knowledge from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

Myanmar also will receive up to $1 billion in investments and $20 million in technical assistance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. Private lenders and investors in Myanmar will also benefit from political risk insurance offered by the Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

“The new Country Partnership Framework for Myanmar is based on priorities developed in close consultation and engagement with stakeholders in Myanmar,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Myanmar. “The Framework focuses on reducing rural poverty, providing basic services, and stimulating the private sector in an inclusive manner, so that especially the poor and vulnerable share in the benefits of reform. We look forward to working in partnership with the government, investors and civil society groups for the prosperity of the people of Myanmar.”

The CPF is the World Bank Group’s first full strategic framework for Myanmar since 1984. The CPF comes during the country’s transition from military rule to democratic governance, with its economy shifting from state-directed to market-oriented.

“Myanmar’s priority is to advance development and cut poverty in our country,” saidUnion Minister for the Ministry of Finance, U Win Shein. “Financing and innovative ideas from the World Bank Group can help create jobs, end poverty by 2030 and build Myanmar through growth that reaches everyone in Myanmar, especially the poorest people.”

The CPF seeks to help Myanmar’s development plans in three main areas:

First, it will help reduce poverty in rural areas where more than 75 percent of Myanmar’s poor live. The partnership strategy will focus on increasing economic opportunities and access to basic services, reducing vulnerabilities, and empowering poor rural communities to participate in the economy and the governance of the country. In the next three years, 3.5 million people will gain new or better access to electricity, with an additional 2.5 million people benefiting from improved rural infrastructure and access to public services.

Second, the CPF will help Myanmar improve the quality, access and delivery of essential services for its people, including health care and schools, and help the government achieve its announced goal of universal healthcare access by 2030. In addition, 30,000 students will receive stipends to stay in school.

Third, it will stimulate job creation in Myanmar by building a dynamic private sector, with support to improve access to finance for small businesses, telecommunications and information technology, modern financial institutions, and the expansion of overseas trade for Myanmar businesses. The World Bank Group’s support aims to increase the number of people, micro-enterprises, and small and medium enterprises using financial services by 200,000, and to facilitate financing of up to $40 million by 2017. World Bank Group support also aims to help the government mobilize $150 million in private investment by creating a business environment conducive to private sector investment.

The CPF draws on intensive and systematic engagement with the government, the private sector and a broad range of civil society, which has helped build mutual understanding and identify priority issues for Myanmar. It builds on findings from the Bank Group’s recent Systematic Country Diagnostic, extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, and lessons learned since the institution began re-engagement in Myanmar in 2012.

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