Nov 14, 2016

IFC Helps Myanmar Family Businesses Improve Governance, Attract More Investment

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Myanmar’s family businesses adopt effective corporate governance practices, improve their performances and transparency, and attract foreign investors. Family businesses are key to Myanmar’s economy, generating thousands of jobs and contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth. 

Around 99 percent of Myanmar’s 127,000 registered companies are small and medium enterprises and 620,000 businesses in the informal sector, or around 83 percent, are family-owned.  Many Myanmar companies struggle with underdeveloped boards of directors, poor transparency, and rudimentary control frameworks. To address this, IFC today launched, for the first time, a Myanmar language version of its Family Business Governance Handbook, which has been published in 20 languages so far. The handbook is a concise and practical description of essential family business governance components and suggested approaches to resolving common governance dilemmas in running a family-owned business, according to IFC.

“Family businesses will benefit by professionalizing their management teams and putting in place a succession plan early on,” said Chris Razook, IFC Corporate Governance Lead for East Asia and the Pacific. “This will reduce the likelihood of family feuds and increase the odds of their survival through generations.” 

Just before the handbook launch, about 30 family-business owners and senior executives attended a workshop organized jointly by IFC, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), and the Myanmar Corporate Governance Initiative, a working group established by IFC, the U.K.-Myanmar Financial Services Taskforce, and the Australian and U.K. embassies. Participants learned about best practices in family governance structures, building effective boards, and succession planning. 
“Corporate governance advocacy is a key to achieving UMFCCI’s objective to usher Myanmar business community into globalized economy. Conferences and workshops conducted under the MCGI platform have generated strong interest among our members and a specific offering for family owned businesses is essential in Myanmar” said Tint Swai, CEO of UMFCCI. 

The workshop is part of IFC’s and its partners’ efforts to promote good governance practices among family businesses. Numerous studies show that stronger governance helps companies operate more efficiently and manage risks better, making them more sustainable. 
IFC’s Corporate Governance Program in Myanmar is implemented in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the U.K. Department for International Development. 

Source: The Financial