IFIs to discuss Burmese economy

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original
Thursday, 14 January 2010 21:36 Kyaw Theinkha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Burma's economic situation will come under the scanner, when international financial institutions that support economic development projects in the Southeast Asian nation meet in Bangkok, on January 27.

The IFIs will hold a close-door discussion over their support to Burma, share views on the country's foreign relations and the current economic situation.

Ms Noily Grece Mercedo, in-charge of Southeast Asia and Mekong region of the Bank Information Center (BIC) said, "The meeting is to discuss the support to Burma by Multinational Development Banks, Asia Development Bank, and the World Bank."

The meeting is jointly organised by the BIC and the Open Society Institute-Southeast Asia. It will also be attended by long time Burma economic watcher Professor Sean Turnell of the Macquarie University in Australia.

"We have invited representatives from the ADB, World Bank and from NGOs. Prof. Sean Turnell will also join the meeting. We have also invited people from inside Burma," Mercedo added.

While the meeting is not linked to Nobel Economist Prof. Stiglitz's visit to Burma in December, it will cover issues related to the role of international financial institutions in Burma's economic development and related issues.

Besides, the meeting will also discuss the post 2010 elections scenario in Burma and the potential problems thereafter.

Mercedo also said, the meeting will discuss the potential assistance to Burmese agriculture by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, both of which had long stopped assisting Burma.

"Currently these institutions find it difficult to enter Burma and start work. But after the elections, it might be possible for some of them to be able to move into Burma. I think in the wake of the elections, these [IMF and World Bank] might start a research to analyse the situation and begin to cooperate. Even if Burma gets loans, it would still take about two to three years," a Burmese opposition activist, who has also been invited to attend the meeting, told Mizzima.

"They are worried over China's investments in Burma. As China has been providing official as well as unofficial financial assistance, it makes the share holders of the World Bank to want to go into Burma, because they do not want to lag behind. But at this moment it is very difficult for them as there has been no changes at all in Burma," he said.

In mid-December, Nobel Economist Prof. Joseph Stiglitz along with Executive Secretary of United Nations Economics and Social Cooperation for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) Dr. Noeleen Heyzer held a meeting with Burmese military generals in Naypyitaw and discussed the country's agricultural development, rural economy, and poverty alleviation.