Jun 2, 2011

UN High Representative: "Myanmar in an excellent position to graduate from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2020"

Myanmar is in an “excellent position” to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2020, in part because of its location in a region that is driving the global economy, a United Nations official said in a recent interview with The Myanmar Times.

Mr Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN’s High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, was speaking on the sidelines of a development conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 12.

He said Myanmar would benefit greatly from adopting development policies in line with the Istanbul Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries in the coming decade.

These included raising a “trust fund” for future generations by setting aside up to 20 percent of the country’s national income, and dedicating another 25pc of the national income on infrastructure development and human capital enhancement, with the remaining 55pc going towards the “functions of the state”.

Other policies included focusing on boosting productive capacity in order to attract foreign investment – such as building infrastructure, investing in human capital and transferring knowledge.

Although Myanmar has not received “preferential treatment” from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund or Asia Development Bank for two decades, and although it receives less official development assistance than other LDCs, Mr Diarra said the UN could play a role as a negotiator between Myanmar and its development partners because the country is “in a process of launching a new face of its development”.

Mr Diarra also stressed the importance of diversifying the economy beyond the mining industry – which he said does not benefit everyone in the country – and adopting an inclusive policy of governance, which will pave the way for all national stakeholders take part in the country’s decision-making processes.

“I think [Myanmar is] in an excellent position to graduate by the end of the Istanbul Plan of Action’s duration, which is 10 years,” he said. “I can easily see [Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos] graduating out of the group of the LDCs during that course of the time.”

Source: Myanmar Times