Data Matters No. 29
The year 2022 recorded the lowest level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in four years, measured over the first seven months of the fiscal year. Compared to 2021, the year of the coup, FDI has fallen by more than half. More than US$ 1.6 billion in foreign investment was recorded between January and July 2022, the second largest inflow under the State Administration Council’s control. In June, only US$ 6.59 million entered, but in July, it increased to nearly US$ 1.2 billion. Compared to June, foreign investment increased 180 times in one month.
During the first seven months of 2022, Myanmar received the most foreign investment from ASEAN, more than US$ 1.3 billion. Investment from China was the second highest at more than US$ 257 million. A total of over US$ 1.6 billion in foreign investment entered from 13 countries during the first seven months of 2022. However, out of the 52 countries that regularly invest in Myanmar, the remaining 39 countries had no investment at all in 2022 to date. Included in the 13 countries which did invest were South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Netherlands, and India.
∎ Why does it matter?
Foreign investment is an important economic pillar for developing countries, but not all kinds of foreign investment guarantee economic growth. If the investments are resource-exploitative, inconsiderate of the environment, inconsiderate of human rights, and do not improve the livelihoods of the local people, they could further deteriorate the development of the country and cause further impoverishment and vulnerability among Myanmar people. This has been the case throughout successive military regimes in Myanmar. The information concerning which countries are currently investing in Myanmar and what kind of investments are entering the market is key to understanding the involvement of other countries in the current political crisis. Moreover, foreign investments have a direct impact on the long-term sustainable development of the country and the livelihoods of Myanmar people, so it is crucial to monitor any foreign investment developments. Particularly in the current situation in which information ecosystems are being corrupted and destroyed, it is important to keep track of the figures on foreign investment to check whether the military regime is being transparent in their reporting of investments they have approved.
∎ Other relevant readings
Information and statistics concerning the status of foreign investment can be studied using the official website of the Directorate of Foreign Investment and Company Administration, in which investment information is compiled on a monthly and yearly basis. In addition, reports and statistics released by the World Bank, annual reports of the Asian Development Bank, and papers published by Oxford Economics and the Economist Intelligence Unit can also be consulted.