Nov 4, 2016

Japan to provide $7.73bn in aid to Myanmar

Japan will provide aid worth 800 billion yen ($7.73 billion) to Myanmar over five years to support its peace-building and development efforts, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

About 40 billion yen of the aid planned by the government and private sector will be directed towards supporting ethnic minorities in the Southeast Asian nation.

"We hope this aid will help spread the fruit of peace building to various regions in Myanmar, and drive it forward," Abe told a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace state guesthouse in Tokyo with Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The rest of the aid would be spent on areas such as airports and electricity projects, Japanese officials said.

Japanese officials have described Myanmar as the "final frontier within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations," citing its potential given its natural resources.

Suu Kyi arrived Tuesday on a five-day visit to Japan, her first visit to Asia's second-largest economy since the pro-democracy party she leads took power in March following a landmark election.

"I expect this will contribute to the country's development," Suu Kyi said at the joint press conference.

At an event with members of Japan's Myanmar community earlier in the day, Suu Kyi said Myanmar's economy "needs to be developed in every sector," with a slowdown in global growth adding to the country's economic difficulties.

"We need a lot of investment and many economic experts with fresh ideas," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said.

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