Myanmar Diary from 2025

Top Ten Essay from Purrfect Essay Competition

by Okkthohn Aung

Another landslide victory for Daw Aung San Su Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy, won a second term following Myanmar’s 8 November elections; however, forecasting what will the next five years bring to Myanmar is fraught with uncertainty. It is yet both possible and desirable to obtain consistent 2025 estimates that make reasonable assumptions about peace, economic growth, and educational development although circumstances and geopolitics are frequently tense. For many of those fighting for democracy in Myanmar, the belief that democracy will be the solution to all of the problems of the nation has been widely held. Considering the results of the previous term, democratization does not in itself provide a viable solution to the war-torn country. The youth of our age concerns about what Myanmar might look like in 5 years because the future will shape so much more of our lives than older age groups. In 2015, the de facto leader of the nation, Daw Aung San Su Kyi, and her ruling party came to power in the general election through democratic means and Myanmar was ready to pursue economic growth under the name of the “third world country”. With the country’s plentiful natural resources, the lifting of economic sanctions by Western countries, and the input of foreign investment, Myanmar was opening rapidly to the global market economy. On the other hand, some regions were still war-torn and pursuing well-intended but misguided policies in the economic and education sector. As a developing country’s open economy, the incentives to foreign direct investments in Myanmar are inextricably linked to the social dynamics of the ongoing civil wars and identity crisis in Rakhine state; however, changes in incentives are also reflected by the movement overtime in increased openness that offers the opportunity to help address pressing development needs. It is, nevertheless, clear that the situation in Rakhine has adversely affected the economic growth in Myanmar. After the Rohingya crisis in 2017, tourism arrivals from the West declined. In Yangon, real estate prices and hotel room rates have dropped to more sensible and affordable levels from stratospheric levels. There is a high likelihood of the process of repatriation being undertaken in a manner appropriate to the international community by 2025. Otherwise, economic growth in Myanmar will continue to be hampered by the Rakhine crisis. Both the longer-run welfare of the Myanmar economy and the GDP growth will depend fundamentally on SMEs by analogy. Although the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector is one of the driving forces for economic growth, innovation, regional development, create employment opportunities and reduce poverty in many developing countries, access to financial services for SMEs remains severely constrained in Myanmar, restricting business growth. The government is expected to monitor the financial access level of SMEs and set the rules and regulations to improve SMEs in the next 5 years. It follows that SMEs can get ease of financial access to undertake productive investments to expand their businesses and acquire the latest technologies. As a consequence, it is predicted that the future GDP growth rates would have a pervasive effect on the job and income creation in both urban and rural areas. There’s also likely to have a SMEs support environment, comprised of government and social support networks, helping SMEs to integrate into the digital economy and maintaining GDP growth. A crucial step towards digitalizing Myanmar's economy is to strengthen national education and technology capabilities. Myanmar still has a long way to go, despite recent actions to provide the foundation for sustainable development through the development of education and technology. The education system is expected to provide our youth with the necessary skills to enable them to compete in the modern labor market and raise the development of human resources who are essential for contemporary society by 2025. Another major challenge to Myanmar is to sustain long-term reforms and development gains, including through enduring peace in the next five years. Peace-building is at a crossroads as the NLD government closes its first term this year. Meanwhile, in both Rakhine and Shan states, the armed conflict has intensified and the peace process has lost traction with some 21 ethnic armed groups as it clashes with political and electoral realities. The idea that Myanmar could once again become a pariah state, isolated by the international community for human rights abuses, was disturbing to those who put their hopes for further democratization and economic change on the NLD government. One of the things to expect from this term will be whether minority grievances driving armed conflict or reviving reform efforts will result in a fairer deal for minorities alongside the Burmese Buddhist majority. There is little hope for lasting peace without a federal system involving all ethnic groups aimed at resolving key issues in the Constitution. It is expected that the current government can overcome the obstacles and support federalism by 2025 ensuring genuine political representation and self-determination for the minority communities of Myanmar. The NLD government is likely to ramp up its leadership of the peace process and demonstrate its commitment to ending hostilities within the next five years. It is widely accepted that investigating the economic determinants for sustainable peace in post-conflict will be a crucial task for the government to implement by 2025. The Dynamism in Myanmar’s economic system during the last decade has been limited by some factors: a narrow production base, a more competitive global market, a lack of diversification in commodities, natural disaster vulnerability, and higher prices for global commodities. A tantamount dynamism will no doubt continue in the future with fewer risks and more capabilities of SMEs. Nevertheless, there are and will continue to be, substantial numbers of poor microeconomics owners who are not a central part of that dynamism. What the NLD government intends to offer these disadvantaged groups is another deliberate decision to make in the coming five-year term.

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