Data Matters No. 19
(This article is a translation of the Burmese language version that ISP-Myanmar posted on its Facebook page on May 19, 2022).
More than US$407 million in foreign investment entered Myanmar during the first four months of 2022. January saw the largest share with investments topping US$260 million. Only about US$24 million entered the country in February. Investment in March jumped to over US$116 million before plummeting to only about US$6 million in April. ASEAN accounted for the largest investment during this period with about 54 percent of total foreign investment. China accounted for about 13 percent of the total with US$51 million.
The Other Services sector attracted the largest share of foreign investment with more than US$213 million, while manufacturing accounted for more than US$122 million and real estate attracted about US$38 million. The energy sector took in more than US$17 million, and the livestock and fisheries sector added more than US$15 million. Other sectors, including construction, oil and gas, industrial zones, transportation, mining, hotels and tourism, and agriculture, had no foreign investment in the first four months of 2022.
∎ 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.