Infrastructural projects: Burma also opens up to foreign investment

Pubblicazioni Easternational

For information about the project, click the following link to the related page on Asian Development Bank (ADB) website. Source:

Interesting projects for Italian entrepreneurs are developing within the Belt and Road Initiative. One of these is related to the construction of a motorway in the economic corridor which connects the East and the West in the Greater Mekong region, Burma.

The nation is experiencing a period of important political and economic transition, since the military junta that led the country was replaced by a reformist government in 2011. Although instability still lasts in some of the regions, the country has opened up to foreign investment and the estimated growth rate for the third quarter of 2018 is 7.05% of GDP.
In such a situation, the development of infrastructures plays a fundamental role for the economic growth of a nation and for the development of international and domestic trade.

The project, proposed by the Ministry of Construction and which should be approved by the end of 2019, will be financed by the Asian Development Bank with a concessional ordinary capital resources lending of 164.30 million dollars. The new motorway, about 70 km long, will connect Bago and Kyaikto, shortening the current route of about 32 km, halving the traveling time. The new route also includes a 2.3 km long bridge over the Sittaung River, and a feasibility study prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency has shown that the new section will run at full capacity between 2020 and 2025, solving the problem of traffic on the already existing highway.

The area of the East-West Economic Corridor, in which the project is included, is fundamental for the economy of South East Asia, as it connects the neighboring Thailand with the ancient Burmese capital Yangon and the nearby Special Economic Zone and port city of Thilawa, proceeding then towards Pathein, city on the mouth of the homonymous river. The corridor sections in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos have already been completed and the border posts have been modernized. The situation in Burma is not as positive, showing two-lanes roads crossing urban areas, damaged tarmac and poor safety measures that do not allow a speed above 60 km / h.

The construction of the motorway, in addition to giving a boost to Thilawa's SEZ and to the connectivity of the entire nation, thanks to the collateral works would also give a fundamental contribution to the economic and social development of rural areas. The project is fully part of the '3 C' at the base of the regional cooperation of the Greater Mekong region, which includes six countries: in addition to 'competitiveness' and to the construction of a sense of 'community', the economic cooperation program aims to strengthen competitiveness through the construction of infrastructure and the development of economic corridors.

An Italian Chamber of Commerce (IMYBC) has been active since 2015 in Burma, receiving two diplomatic missions a year from Rome and providing advisory services for companies that wish to invest in Southeast Asia. More information about the project is available at the following link or getting in contact with Asian Development Bank.

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