Letter: US is Investing in Myanmar’s Future

Embassy Seal

SIR – The US government is committed to supporting private sector-led growth in Myanmar to maintain a free and open Asia-Pacific. As Ambassador, I am often asked how the US government is supporting economic growth in Myanmar.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the US government’s development finance institution, which provides financing and insurance to projects that cannot obtain sufficient private financing.

OPIC has committed over US$280 million (K421.4 billion) to support inclusive private sector-led growth in Myanmar. OPIC gave financing four years ago to Apollo Towers, which to date has built nearly 2000 multi-tenant cell phone towers to satisfy demand for modern communications infrastructure. The US government through OPIC is also supporting projects that are constructing modern buildings, and providing financing to local microfinance institutions so they can increase lending to small entrepreneurs who form the fabric of the economy.

Two years ago OPIC committed financing to its first microfinance project in Myanmar, to help entrepreneurs and small business owners obtain loans to start and grow businesses. Despite Myanmar’s strong recent growth, the portion of adults who have access to financial services remains among the lowest in the region. When more of these entrepreneurs and small businesses can borrow, they can increase their revenues, hire more workers and invest in their families and their communities.

OPIC is eager to do more. This week, a team from OPIC visited Myanmar to show our continuing support for broad-based economic development, and explore ways we can continue to invest in the country’s development. During this visit, OPIC committed financing to Proximity Finance, which will provide loans and other services to smallholder farmers, many of whom are women whose productivity is often limited by their inability to invest in their businesses.

For almost 50 years, OPIC has supported investors in emerging markets like Myanmar. OPIC’s model of working with and bolstering the private sector stands in contrast to state-led directives in the region that are all too common. We look forward to supporting more investment that will build the 21st century infrastructure and economy Myanmar needs.

Scot Marciel,
US ambassador to Myanmar

[Burmese Translation]