Myanmar is on the threshold of leapfrog development as Western countries start to ease sanctions, an official with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said here Wednesday.
The ADB projected a 6-percent GDP growth for Myanmar in 2012. " But it is a very conservative projection. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual number turns out to be much higher," said Craig Steffensen, ADB's chief on Myanmar and Thailand.
Myanmar has made progress in reforming its exchange rate, land law and financial sector. It is also making good decisions in boosting investment, tourism and export. "Hotels, flights are booked out. Business people are looking for opportunities in Myanmar," Steffensen said.
The United States and EU have pledged to ease sanctions on Myanmar, a major boost to the country's economic prospect. Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, said in early April that the United States will begin easing sanctions on Myanmar after opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was elected into the parliament with a landslide win.
It is essential that sanctions are removed to drive the export- oriented growth model, which Myanmar is likely to adopt for future development, he added. "I hope the EU and the United States can lift the sanctions soon so that the ADB can provide more assistance in Myanmar's development."
Myanmar used to have the same economic development level as Thailand before being sanctioned. "It has the potential for a leapfrog development to shorten the difference with its neighbors, " Steffensen said.