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This book is a special edition commemorating the World Economic Forum on East Asia - held in Nay Pyi Taw 5-7 June 2013. It is not for sale or resale. First published in 2013 by Image Diplomacy - iD Copyright Š text: Sorcha Hellyer Copyright Š photography: Image Diplomacy - iD and named photographers Inside front cover: Ken Spence All rights reserved in all countries. No part of the text or illustrations may be reproduced by any means of print, microfilm or other media without the written permission of the copyright holders. Every care has been taken in compiling the contents of this book but no responsibility is assumed. Design & Layout: Ramon Micallef (ram@box-design.net) Printers: Times Printers, Singapore


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C ONTENT S

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Rural Life

60 Your Journey

Urban Life

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People

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38 Culture

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Moving Forwards

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Appreciation

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Sharing Prosperity HE U Thein Sein - President of Myanmar


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n the spirit of the World Economic Forum’s theme, we are pleased to host the WEF on East Asia under the auspices of Sharing Prosperity. Holding this incredibly important event in our capital is indicative of how ready we are to foster the new Myanmar and what our hopes are for our people. It is an exciting time for the Union of Myanmar. Recent years have seen us emerge on the global stage and start to work diligently towards objectives that will take the nation forward. The path we are on will not be easy but we should all relish the challenges and rewards that we find along our journey.

Myanmar is rich in culture, heritage, traditions and breathtaking scenery. We have a great deal to be proud of because these are all elements of our nation that define us. However, we must look to the future too. The modernisation of our country with the opening up of the economy - as well as the reduction of poverty and upgrading the lives of the whole population - will require a lot of effort. Yet we are fortunate to have a wealth of natural and human resources which - if managed carefully and in a sustained way - will see our Golden Land shine ever more brightly. The juncture we find ourselves at is a critical and transformative stage in our nation-building. It is not about reaching a destination - although it is good to have an objective to aim for - it is more about embracing this journey. How we work together, share together and grow together is fundamental to our progress, not only as a country but as human beings. We are all connected and we owe it to each other to respect, celebrate and capitalise on our diversity for mutual benefit. Working towards an inclusive and integrated society is not an option. It is a must. Creating opportunities and promoting the wellbeing of all segments of society - regardless of age, gender, race and religion - is vital to our success. As Myanmar unites behind these common goals, we should celebrate all that makes us unique and invite the rest of the world to get to know us better. On one hand we have much to offer and on the other, much progress to make. We invite you to discover the warmth of our hospitality, explore the beauty of our lands, to participate in our development and growth and share in our future prosperity. We welcome you most cordially to‌let the journey begin.

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Š MOHT/Thung Aung

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Myanmar’s Courageous Transformation Professor Klaus Schwab - Executive Chairman and Founder, World Economic Forum


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ome pundits have recently claimed that Myanmar is at a crossroads. As an avid observer of Myanmar and its developments I do not agree. In fact, I believe that after a series of bold economic and political reforms the country is moving in the right direction. The people of Myanmar have embarked on an ambitious journey towards global integration, economic growth and social inclusion.

By mending old bridges and building new ones across the Greater Mekong region and beyond, Myanmar’s course gives us good reason to be optimistic about its future. It is becoming clear that the country is re-entering the global stage as a responsible and constructive actor. As Myanmar is set to chair ASEAN in 2014, it will have a critical role in guiding the bloc’s 10-member economies towards planned economic integration in 2015. This new positive trajectory will not only help Myanmar, but also the whole region in its quest to become an important geo-political and geo-economic pillar of the global economy. All efforts to firmly ground Myanmar in the global community need to be mirrored by ongoing domestic reform efforts and a reconciliation process. Again, we can see the first effects of the new course at work. The decision to lift most of the long-standing restrictions on freedom of the press is most welcome. It is also an essential ingredient for an inclusive model of social and economic progress. The dynamism that Myanmar’s budding news media is showing is a good sign. It will ensure that political processes remain transparent, inclusive and accountable. Of course, there are many challenges ahead. Civil society needs time to develop and conflict lines along political, economic or social issues, or - as we have seen in the recent past - along religious fault lines, require careful leadership and cooperation. Myanmar will have to develop resilience to withstand these inevitable setbacks in the future. The global community is called upon to lend a hand to Myanmar’s political and business leaders. The World Economic Forum on East Asia will be the first leading international gathering of senior decision-makers from industry, government, academia and civil society to be held in the country. We hope to create an unrivalled opportunity to understand and to make a contribution to Myanmar’s courageous transformation.

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he Union of Myanmar’s transformation has been much anticipated and yet at the same time it has taken the world by surprise. It is a country on the rise, in a region that is enjoying an increasingly important role on the global stage. Yet its lengthy seclusion means that there are many challenges to be addressed. The whole nation is mindful of this. Change is needed and good progress is being made but it will take time. Bold political, social and economic reforms have resulted in a lifting of sanctions and the country is opening up many sectors to foreign investment. This is a crucial step towards creating jobs and reducing poverty.

Improving the quality of life of all the citizens of Myanmar remains imperative especially when the nation is composed of a largely agrarian society - with an estimated 70% percent living in rural areas. There are many priorities but identifying the priorities within the priorities is being aided by international cooperation. Investment in infrastructure, education, healthcare and greater technological capacity is undoubtedly vital. To take just one example - three out of four of Myanmar’s 60 million people have no access to electricity. On the business front it has been described as the penultimate economic frontier in Asia. There is certainly a plethora of opportunities and the country is on the cusp of great developments. Travelling around the Golden Land, the incredible warmth of the people of Myanmar and their innate resourcefulness rarely goes unnoticed. It is indeed one of the nation’s greatest strengths. The doors have opened to the rest of the world and the welcome is palpable at every level of society. That said modernisation must be implemented in a sustainable manner if Myanmar is not to lose the charm that makes it so very special. The national identity of this phenomenal and ethnically diverse union should be revered and preserved. It would be a pity if local traditions and customs - that have been handed down from generation to generation - were to disappear in the fervour to rebuild and update the nation. Growth in all areas of the economy is requisite for success. Nevertheless the relatively untouched and untapped environment needs to be protected so that the future is assured. In a bid to re-establish its standing in the global community, Myanmar is working hard to implement concrete changes that will not only benefit the entire population but also restore its image. It has always been a country of contrasts; once known as the rice bowl of the world with one of the best education systems in Asia. Legendary for its magic and exoticism, it has garnered much admiration. Now, however, it is a nation that wishes to be known not only as being inspiring but also aspiring. Alluring as it is, the veil of mystery is being lifted. This is a country that is not simply waiting to be explored. Instead it is tangibly inviting you to start your voyage of discovery and be part of history in the making.

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Š MOHT / Kyaw Zaw Lay

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Rural Life

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ith its rolling hills and snow-capped mountains, rivers snaking their way through fertile lands - not to mention kilometres of pristine beaches along a coastline of bountiful seas - Myanmar is a country as diverse as it is enchanting. Unsurprisingly, agriculture is the mainstay occupation and dominates the national identity. Half a century of seclusion from the global context has preserved this simple way of life and many delicate ecosystems. This is a nation steeped in tradition, from farmers who still till the land using oxen, to the iconic foot-paddling fishermen of Inle Lake. It has ensured self-sufficiency amongst tight-knit communities and a deep respect for nature. Endearing as this is, for a country that just a century ago was considered the second richest in Southeast Asia and was once the rice bowl of the world, this backwardness threatens to be a hindrance to the improved socio-economic standing of the general population. Mechanisation would facilitate increased efficiency and would engender a quantum leap in productivity in the agricultural sector, for example. However, the likely outcome of modernisation would be the disappearance of a lifestyle that is an intrinsic element of the national psyche and the spiritual composition of society; a fact that requires careful consideration. In general, the Myanmar people have a diet rich in home-grown produce - from rice harvested from ubiquitous paddies and tropical fruit from lush coastal areas, to tomatoes and vegetables grown in the impressive floating gardens of Inle Lake. Locally caught fresh and sun-dried fish are also consumed. The agrarian population makes up the majority of the populace. Besides food, rural communities also harvest wood and rubber, among other produce. It is said that nearly three quarters of Myanmar earns its livelihood from the land and most people still live the same resourceful way their forefathers did. In many respects, these communities lack material wealth yet have a rich appreciation of the land, rivers and seas. Vitally they also live in harmony with their environment. Despite a fairly temperate climate countrywide, the diverse topology means wide variances geographically. The dry zone of Upper and Central Myanmar faces recurrent droughts while the delta often sees heavy rains which can devastate crops. Climate change and the evolving economic landscape of the country - with greater emphasis on investment, infrastructure and the much needed upgrading of the quality of life of the masses - will undoubtedly see a move towards increased urbanisation. With efforts to safeguard and protect traditions, the charming simplicity of the general population’s daily life will hopefully stand the test of time. In this way, the paddy fields, lakes, forests, hill stations, fluvial and littoral existences will continue to be part of the exquisite beauty of Myanmar.


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Š Ken Spence


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Š MOHT / Kyaw Kyaw Win


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Š MOHT / Aung Thu Myint

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Š MAPCO

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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š MOHT / Aung Pyae Soe

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Š MOHT / Tun Wai


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Š MOHT / Aung Min

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Š MOHT / Ye Nuang

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Urban Life

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C

overing an area of 676,577 square kilometres, Myanmar is the largest country in Southeast Asia. Yet it has a population density ratio of only 85 inhabitants per square kilometre and when it comes to urbanisation, Myanmar is some way behind its neighbours. This makes for a genuine sense of community in even the most populated areas.

The capital has been based in Nay Pyi Taw since its move from Yangon in 2005. Considered to be strategically placed, this newly-formed city is in Central Myanmar. While still being developed, it boasts a modern infrastructure with a brand new international airport, multi-lane highways, resort-style hotels and has been designed in zones. Home to the parliament and ministries, it is the administrative heart of the nation. Nay Pyi Taw also plays host to major conferences at the MICC - the country’s largest convention centre. That said it is by no means the largest or most populated metropolis. Yangon, with 6 million inhabitants remains the main draw for citizens since it is the commercial capital of Myanmar. This is where most international visitors arrive and no trip to Myanmar would be complete without a visit to shimmering Shwedagon - cited the world’s most ancient Buddhist pagoda at 2,600 years old. Despite being dynamic and lively, Yangon still has large pockets of green areas, thanks in part to the protected areas around the magnificent Shwedagon and the two lakes, Inya and Kandawgyi. Additionally, it is in Yangon that the British colonial past of the country once called Burma, is most evident. Spectacular remnants of architecture from this era can be found in the former capital and although many are in a state of disrepair, there is a strategic municipal plan to protect and restore these buildings to their former splendour. With a population of approximately 1 million, legendary Mandalay - made famous in Rudyard Kipling’s poem - is the nation’s second-largest metropolitan area. This former royal outpost is a bustling commercial city. Besides being the economic hub for upper Myanmar, Mandalay is widely touted as an important cultural capital. In fact, some of the best examples of century-old teak monasteries can be found there. Undoubtedly the opening up of Myanmar’s economy, as well as the centralisation of investments around areas with infrastructure, will see a further concentration of activities in key urban areas. While increased urbanisation is inevitable, it is hoped that jobs and opportunities will also be created in outlying areas and in villages - so that the local way of life can continue to be preserved for generations to come.


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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š MOHT/Kyaw Win Hlain

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Š MOHT / Tun Swe

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Š MOHT / Aung Kyaw Tun


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Š MOHT/Kyaw Win Hlaing


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Š MOHT/Kyaw Zaw Lay

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Š MOHT/Nyunt Naing

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Š Ken Spence

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People

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I

n an increasingly impersonal world, the people of Myanmar are refreshingly personable. Their warmth is legendary and it can make their prolonged isolation from the international community seem almost implausible. Nevertheless, the result of its often tumultuous past has had its benefits on Myanmar. For one it has not suffered from the same widespread homogeny seen in other countries and retains much of its rich indigenous tribal culture. Indeed, there are over 100 ethnic races especially in the more remote areas and each of them has distinct traditions and cultures. Among them are the Padaung long-neck tribe and the tattooed Chin tribe.

However, the majority of Myanmar’s population lives in the valley and environs of its longest river, the Irrawaddy, located between the Rakhine Yoma and the Shan Plateau. The dispersed nature of the inhabitants and their bucolic lifestyle mean that many do not have easy access to schools and clinics, making them a self-sufficient populace. Surprisingly, Myanmar has historically enjoyed high literacy rates which - given the lack of educational infrastructure and its status as a UN Least Developed Country - is compelling. It is indicative of their innate intelligence and abilities. Kindness and hospitality are strong traits of the Myanmar people, yet the possibility of realising their full potential in a global context is only unfolding now. Creating the right kind of environment and policies for the betterment of the citizens’ socio-economic circumstances is imperative. What is clear is that all efforts must be inclusive. Moreover, managing the expectations of the people will need to be a priority, because Myanmar’s widespread poverty, social issues and development deficit cannot be addressed overnight. Continuing political stability and lasting peace will be game-changers in the lives of the general population. Already, increased transparency and accountability - especially regarding decisions affecting the public - are now taking root. Meanwhile, the creation of a more level playing field will undoubtedly benefit the demographic majority rather than a select group. Changes to licensing have led to improved cost accessibility to mobile telephony and car ownership - just two examples of ways in which lives are being enhanced. Promoting tourism and labour intensive industries - in order to create job opportunities - is also vital to the country’s future. While a resolutely positive attitude emanates from the Myanmar people, there is no denying that it is tempered with a bittersweet realisation of just how far behind the country had slipped. The path to a more equitable society will be long but the government is adamant that it is committed to growing a thriving, harmonious new Myanmar.


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Š Ken Spence


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Š MOHT/Aung Thu Myint


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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š MTF

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Š MTF


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Š MOHT/Pyi Soe Tu

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Š MOHT/Pyi Soe Tu


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Š MOHT/Zaw Zaw Tun

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Culture

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treasure trove of cultural offerings awaits visitors to Myanmar; from delightful festivals to the omnipresent, robed Buddhist monks and nuns, extraordinary pagodas and caves transformed into spiritual destinations of quiet contemplation. Not forgetting tribal traditions, indigenous textiles, handicrafts, dances and celebrations - quietly offset by colonial elegance.

Caught in something of a time-trap, the length and breadth of Myanmar has been mercifully spared the kind of rampant urban development and modernisation to which many other nations have succumbed. This leaves it in the enviable position of being able to capitalise on its heritage. Striking a balance is difficult; opening the country up to the rest of the world - in order to offer better socio-economic conditions to the population and improve quality of life - versus the preservation of the delightfully diverse fabric of ethnicities. Recognising the true value of the legacy and the lineage of a nation - whether it is the customs of its people, culinary delights, music, arts or archaeology - is often lost in the grip and fervour of modernity. As Myanmar emerges and assimilates with the international community, it is at a crucial moment in its history. Preserving its incredibly rich tapestry of cultural threads - as well as its deeply intrinsic, intangible yet genuine energy - will be vital. So too will the nation’s ability to prioritise the protection of its tangible assets; from traditional hilltop villages, to ancient Buddhist temples in their thousands and the grandeur of British colonial buildings. Tourism - especially cultural tourism - can have a positive impact on both the visitor and on society, as it affords each an opportunity to share in each other’s experience and way of life. It will be important for Myanmar to remain authentic, since its heritage is one of its most beguiling attractions. Thankfully culture is gaining recognition in Asia as a critical benefit in the advantage of soft power and in the attainment of reputation globally. That said sourcing the funding and technical expertise locally - for the maintenance and restoration of Myanmar’s many riches - remains a challenge. This is why the government is inviting foreign partners to participate in the process. It is already experiencing significant international interest in the renovation of fabulous, yet dilapidated, colonial buildings in Yangon and ancient, mystical pagodas in Bagan for example. However, so much more assistance is required to reclaim Myanmar’s former glory. The restoration of buildings aside, people - not structures - remain at the heart of the continuance of the nation’s legacy and indigenous lifestyles. Long may the populace of Myanmar revere all that makes them unique.


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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š MOHT/Lu Mg

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Š MOHT/Zaw Zaw Tun


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Š MOHT/Aye Zaw


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Š MOHT/Pyi Soe Tun

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Š MOHT/Mg Lin Htain


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Š MOHT/Tun Tin

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Š MOHT/Zaw Zaw Tun


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Š MOHT/JMg Mg


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Š MOHT

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Š MOHT/Sam Kham Hein


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Š MOHT/Kyaw Kyaw Win

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Š Ken Spence


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Š Ken Spence


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Š Ken Spence

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Delco

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Š MOHT/Sai Kham Hein


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Š MOHT/Tun Myint


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Š MOHT/Min Min Oo


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Š MOHT/Mg Mg Gyi

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š MOHT/Nyunt Naing

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Your Journey

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M

yanmar is, by all accounts, one of the most mesmerising countries in the world. Breathtakingly beautiful rural landscapes and deliciously chaotic urban areas are populated by people so sweet-natured, respectful and welcoming that it is hard to believe this is a nation which until recently had had little contact with the outside world from the rest of the world for five long decades. Myanmar is now enjoying a renaissance and is ready to welcome you so you can savour its beauty, warmth and hospitality.

As a master plan to develop tourism sustainably is put in place, there is a desire for it to cover the whole country, not just certain pockets of it. Unsurprisingly, typical tourism draws - like mystical, legendary cities Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay, coupled with Inle Lake, Ngwe Saung and Ngapali - are always on itineraries. However, the future will see community-based tourism projects in remote areas also included. These strategies will encourage visitors to go off the beaten track and fully explore Myanmar’s rural charm benefitting both local economies and eco-tourists who wish to enjoy nature and engage with the Myanmar people. Exotic and awe-inspiring, the astonishing natural beauty of Myanmar makes it THE bucket list destination that many have dreamed of visiting for decades. What could be more enthralling than a luxury river trip on the Orient Express’ Road to Mandalay or ballooning over the thousands of ancient pagodas in Bagan? Myanmar is home to numerous historical monuments - from 1,000-year old temples to splendid colonial buildings. Stretches of beautiful unspoilt beaches, picturesque lakes and snow-capped mountains complete the natural tableau. Meanwhile different hill tribes represent a myriad of diverse national races all of whom are very colourful, hospitable, warm and welcoming. Hotly tipped to be one of the world’s fastest growing destinations, tourism represents the best way for the world to get to know Myanmar and for the country to be an active participant in the cultivation of its image. Of course, the industry also has a very positive impact on the economy, and countless investment opportunities await both local and foreign investors. The development of infrastructure, ICT capacity and tourism facilities - in order to meet the needs and expectations of increased visitor numbers - will be crucial. So too will the honing of human resources to take special care of visitors. As the nation works towards all these goals there is one great certainty; the chosen path will be immensely rewarding for all involved. The alluring sights, together with the cordiality of the exceptional Myanmar people, will captivate even the most discerning tourist.


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Š MOHT/Zaw Zaw Tun


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Š MOHT/Nyunt Naing


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Š MOHT/Pyi Soe Tun

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Š MOHT/Nyant Naing


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Š Loi Hein

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Š MOHT/Soe Than Htike

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Š MOHT/Pyi Soe Tun


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Š Ken Spence

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Š Harvey Strachan

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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š MOHT


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Š MOHT/Kyaw Kyaw Win


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Š MOHT/Saw Aung Min

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Moving Forwards

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A

s the transition of Myanmar’s economy gains momentum and a new era of international cooperation is heralded, foreign investors are already pouring into the country eager to explore the phenomenal upside of prospects in all sectors. However, many are left dismayed by the woeful state of the infrastructure, much of which dates back to colonial times. Sadly it is often well-publicised as an impediment to the country’s development but work is in underway to improve the situation. The subpar progress of the past is now being tackled by the government. The desire to emulate other ASEAN countries is tangible and major government funds are being allocated to the construction and renovation of roads and bridges in Myanmar. Besides offering ameliorated conditions for local inhabitants and investors, it will also be critical to raise standards in line with its neighbours in order to be a pivot to regional development. Certainly, the theme of the WEF on East Asia points to inclusion and integration on a global front as well as a heightened commitment on a domestic front. Working towards a society that affords all its citizens equal opportunities to succeed will be increasingly important as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect in 2015. The transformation of the 10-member bloc into a single market and production base will bring increased competition as well as raise the potential for growth. For underdeveloped nations, readiness for what the AEC will bring in 2015 is vital. Myanmar will be taking an active role in this process given that it will be the 2014 ASEAN Chair but ensuring the future of Myanmar is a priority. Building expressways and roads - such as the ASEAN highway - to connect the country to neighbouring nations is difficult to implement with the current budget limitations so the Myanmar is looking for aid assistance from abroad. Key partners are emerging; those who recognise the country’s supreme geostrategic positioning can see why investing in its infrastructure can only pay dividends. As ASEAN’s northernmost member, it shares boundaries with five countries which are home to over 2.8 billion people. Besides Thailand, Bangladesh and Laos, Myanmar is also bordered by the two most populous nations in the world, China and India. In fact, a phenomenal 40% of the world’s population is on its doorstep. Thus, connectivity with its neighbours is considered indispensable both for Myanmar and the whole region. The country no longer wants to be seen as the weak link but instead as a catalyst. With an expected finishing date in 2016, the 3,200-kilometre long tripartite ASEAN highway - connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand - will significantly promote regional trade. The expected finishing date is 2016. The ten ASEAN member countries account for a population of 600 million. However, this is just


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one of many important corridors under construction that will transform Myanmar into a regional trade hub. Overland routes from China with connectivity to the deep-sea ports in Myanmar will significantly reduce delivery times. Major cost efficiencies for shipping lines will be gained by reducing reliance on the Strait of Malacca. One of the most important shipping lanes in the world, the strait is the main channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It links major Asian economies such as India, China, Japan and South Korea and carries about a quarter of the world’s traded goods. Positioning itself as having a viable overland alternative would be a major coup for Myanmar, since it would cut shipping distances by an estimated 1,600 kilometres. Of course road networks are just part of the equation. Yangon’s port - often described as a minnow by Asian standards - handles about 90% of the country’s exports and imports. This may not be the case in the future as three major new port developments on Myanmar’s west coast come on line. Of all the current projects the Dawei deep-sea port is probably the most noteworthy. A 307km-four-lane cross-border highway will link it to Bangkok. Additionally it will have a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) offering tax exemptions for different sectors. Myanmar’s regional importance could skyrocket if it creates the right environment for investment and trade. Many projects are being undertaken in tandem with foreign partners, Dawei included and there is an unambiguous realisation by Myanmar, of the need for international assistance. With foreign engagement Myanmar has the chance to leapfrog the obvious gap in a myriad of significant areas including human resource and ICT capacity and mitigate the dearth of experience with international standards and practices. A steep learning curve has seen the country embrace a sea change. Lifting a quarter of the population out of poverty by creating a million new jobs is all part of President Thein Sein’s reform plans and foreign direct investment into Myanmar is seen as the key. Main areas of the economy slated for expansion are labour intensive sectors like the agribusiness sector and manufacturing; particularly the garment, footwear and toy industries. Ambitious targets to upgrade the infrastructure, raise employment levels and the gross domestic product are all being tackled. International institutions anticipate Myanmar will register substantial growth rates which would see per capita income dramatically improve. Some predict a threefold increase on recent figures, essentially propelling the nation into the ranks of the middle income countries in less than two decades. Forecasts aside, chronic underdevelopment has been a curse but could now be a boon. If it gets the investment required, Myanmar could become a serious contender as a low-cost manufacturing hub. Moreover, the lifting of sanctions is enabling the rekindling of commercial ties with a greater array of nations and will

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give Myanmar’s once stagnant economy a chance to grow. The lion’s share of total foreign investment thus far has been in power (46%) as well as oil and gas (35%) with other sectors such as mining, manufacturing, hotels, tourism and real estate each accounting for single digit percentages. Every sector holds an immense array of business opportunities since each has remained largely untapped. However, increased electrification will be a key factor in how many industries develop. Thankfully, Myanmar has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources including oil and gas which will likely power future growth as well as hydropower projects which harness the potential of the country’s plentiful water supplies. Efforts are underway to manage these assets effectively for the good of the country. Few nations find themselves in Myanmar’s exceptional predicament - it’s not dubbed Southeast Asia’s last frontier for nothing. Mineral rich deposits, under-productive fertile agricultural land and a low-cost workforce to rival China’s, make Myanmar an interesting proposition. However, the desperately needed overhaul and upgrading of financial institutions, starting with an independent Central Bank, would revolutionise the way in which businesses gain funding. Currently, there is no stock exchange and the country is critically unbanked meaning that access to capital is a stumbling block. Local companies are at a crossroads with regards attracting financial and equity partners. Besides financing, the country is keen to learn best business practices and good governance from future partners, by sharing knowledge, transferring know-how and technological expertise. The political, economic and social aspects are all being tackled - especially a concerted effort to improve the lives of the general population as well as requisitely protect and respect workers’ rights, the environment and human rights. As such Myanmar is regaining its rightful position in the global arena. In terms of public diplomacy the country is striving for a louder and clearer voice in the international community. There is a strong sense that Myanmar’s time is now and that this vibrant energy will not be quelled. The general population wants lasting peace and stability on the domestic front as well as friendly relations with the rest of the world. How the nation collectively chooses to move forward will define how its journey unfolds. In embracing the challenges and rewards of its transition, the hope is that Myanmar will make the kind of progress it desires and deserves.


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Š Shwe Taung

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Š Andreas Maluche


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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Andreas Maluche

Š Air Mandalay


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Š Andreas Maluche

Š Andreas Maluche

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Š Andreas Maluche

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Š MOHT

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Appreciation

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n collaboration with both the Government of Myanmar and private sector entities - both local and foreign, Image Diplomacy (iD) is proud to be taking a key role in creating greater awareness about the country’s progress. Fostering better understanding will lead to a more constructive exchange between Myanmar and its international counterparts. Initiated in recent years, the transformative process that is underway in the country has already started to bear fruit but there is a long way to go.

iD’s nation-branding campaign capitalises on the impetus and momentum that is gathering behind Myanmar’s nation-building efforts. The encouragement latent in the expression “let the journey begin” aims to demonstrate the country’s willingness and readiness to not only embrace the changes it has set in motion, but to also request others to actively partake in the process. Fundamentally it recognises that although the path has been decided upon, the real journey has yet to fully commence. In this way it reflects the humility of the people of Myanmar and their realisation that a participatory approach is necessary and that the help and guidance of the international community will be required for the country to reach its goals. Moreover, it is an inclusive expression demonstrating that Myanmar is moving forward together collectively, as well as being at one with the world. Alluding to the aspirations of the new Myanmar, the campaign intends to capture the concepts of optimism, positivity, and transition on the path towards something better. It also points to a new start, to a process of renewal. Besides lending itself to an overarching theme of societal progress, the impression was that it should encompass all kinds of journeys. A key objective was to come up with a phrase which was evocative and would inspire people to visit Myanmar and discover for themselves the changes that are taking place. With reference to a journey, it is undoubtedly well placed to encourage tourism to the Golden Land. However, the essence of it also touches on our own personal journeys in life - whether they are physical or spiritual. It wishes to posit that the journey - not only the destination - is what is important. As Myanmar embarks on its own odyssey the fervent hope is there will be many entities along the way that will participate in and encourage its progress. Each of those who come to share in this positive trajectory will likely become unofficial ambassadors for the new Myanmar - so captivating is the experience.


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aunched in June 2013 at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Nay Pyi Taw, the nationbranding campaign is the culmination of a cooperative effort led by iD and the Government of Myanmar. iD would like to express its deep appreciation for the incredible support and positive input received in mounting this important initiative whose final aim is to constructively improve the image of Myanmar internationally.

Grateful thanks go to:

The President’s Office and The Ministry of Hotels & Tourism And to the consortium of FDI hotels in alphabetical order:

Andaman Club Center Point & Mandalay Hill Resort Chatrium Hotel Yangon Emerald Rose Garden Exe-Sakura Golden Triangle Paradise Resort HAGL (Houng Anh Gia Lai) Kandawgyi Palace Hotel Myanmar Hotels International (Inya Lake Hotel/ Strand Hotel/Thamada Hotel) Park Royal Hotel Savoy Hotel Sedona Hotel Summit Park View Hotel The Governor’s Residence Traders Hotel Wilmar International [Shangri-la] In addition iD thanks the following for their invaluable logistical support:

Air Mandalay Air KBZ Amazing Hotel, Ngapali Aye Yar River View Hotel, Bagan Kandawgyi Hotel, Yangon Hupin Hotel, Inle Lake Panorama Hotel, Yangon Shwe Taung Group Traders Hotel, Yangon

Of course none of it would have been possible without the creativity, dedication and passion of:

Gabriele Villa Sorcha Hellyer Ron Fricke JC Earle John Lamond Andreas Maluche George McIntosh May Cherry Aung Sann Thura Kyaw Ko Htaik Ma Mon Scott Lambert With photography by:

Andreas Maluche Ken Spence Various MOHT photographers Shwe Taung Group DELCO MAPCO MTF Harvey Strachan All unnamed images are iD’s own Copyediting:

Penelope Hellyer Design:

Ramon Micallef


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S P E C I A L TH A N K S TO THE GOL D S P ON S OR O F THI S BOO K

On the Path of Development Aik Htun – Chairman of Shwe Taung Group


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ur nation formed a newly elected democratic government with a publicly nominated president in 2010. As Myanmar embarks on reforms, nationwide rebuilding projects have also begun. With these reconstruction efforts, we are heading in the right direction by establishing a politically stable and economically developing country. During this key historical moment, Shwe Taung Development Co Ltd has set out on a new mission to be a part of the process of revitalising and modernising our nation.

Founded in 1990, Shwe Taung Group is committed to achieving sustainable and healthy growth thanks to the dedication of its shareholders and the relentless efforts of its employees. Shwe Taung Development steadily marches forwards, by firmly adhering to its core principles and participating in infrastructure and construction projects. The Yeywa Hydropower Project (2001-2009) - a collaboration with the Ministry of Electric Power - is just one of the highly regarded accomplishments undertaken by our group. The successful completion of this megaproject has enabled millions of Myanmar citizens, who suffered power outages for decades, to enjoy a stable and reliable supply of electricity throughout the year. Since then the company has taken further steps to work with the Myanmar government to construct additional hydropower projects, essential to satisfy the growing national demand for electric power. Committed to contributing to national advancement, Shwe Taung continues to undertake endeavours such as urban development, highways, bridges and power grid constructions. In addition, we currently operate five international standard shopping centres in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. We have also completed many key landmarks such as the Central Bank of Myanmar, Myanmar Radio & Television complex and Myawaddy TV Production complex. We have many other initiatives underway to improve the living conditions of both the local population and the increasing number of expats and foreign investors. We strongly regard our employees as the greatest asset in achieving the goals of our organisation and consider investment in human resources as mandatory. Our training department continuously provides participatory seminars to improve knowledge and creativity within the various levels of the company, thereby enhancing the efficiency, competency and confidence of our staff. As we continue to carry out infrastructure and development projects, Shwe Taung ensures its activities also bring benefits to our fellow citizens. Besides this we have launched a companywide corporate social responsibility programme in order to facilitate effective community engagement. Our public charity campaign has raised funds for over 65 schools and 3 hospitals, amounting to donations of $7.8 million. After overcoming decades of difficult undertakings, Shwe Taung continues to abide by its principles of faith, honour and hard work to achieve widespread acceptance - not only locally but also internationally. We endeavour to contribute our expertise to our nation by rebuilding the country and actively participating in social development projects for the wider population.

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DELCO MINING CO. LTD.

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stablished in 2007, DELCO is one of the country’s mining leaders, operating an expansive site in Dawei District. It is an extremely geo-strategic position which is poised to transform both Southern Myanmar and the fortunes of Myanmar’s commercial activities. With its headquarters in Yangon, DELCO is the nation’s largest mining, mineral processing and metallurgical company specialising in tin-tungsten and mixed-ores. The country’s close proximity to its giant neighbour China means the latter has long been a willing recipient of Myanmar’s resources and raw materials. However, the recent opening up of the economy is seeing an explosion of interest in Myanmar and affords the country a wider export market. It is also creating an encouraging business environment for foreign direct investors and joint venture partners. DELCO is no exception; it welcomes both local and international investors to explore the country’s underexplored and underdeveloped natural resources - in particular the opportunity of becoming its partner to improve its production of tin and specialty metal. Highly successful in its own right, DELCO believes that with a capital injection for improved technology and technical expertise it could increase its productivity and profitability by 30- 40%. This would make it a contender on the global stage. DELCO considers that growing business in a sustainable way - one that also respects the environment and local society - is vital. It has undertaken the building of concrete roads to develop the infrastructure in the local community where its facilities are based and is committed to a replanting programme that will see a re-greening of areas that have been formerly mined. The company also considers itself to be uniquely positioned to provide recycling solutions for metal-bearing manufacturing scraps and residues and consumer scrap materials. DELCO’s long-term environmental aim is to reduce gas emissions and to continue to protect the environment. Water conservation and water quality protection is a key factor of its mining operations. It is developing and implementing strategies to minimise water usage requirements and maximise water recycling. DELCO currently has around 300 employees in total - working in its mining, energy and automotive activities. While the company’s main role may be the mining of the country’s natural resources from the ground its management, headed up by Ding Ying, is resolute that the nation’s greatest resource is its people. They are fundamental to the success of the nation’s future and improving their capacity remains at the heart of the company’s values.


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To discover more about any of the entities involved in the campaign, iD or the nation-branding process please email myanmar@imagediplomacy.com or visit us on


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Š Ken Spence

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iD-Myanmar LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN  

Myanmar inaugurated its nation-branding campaign at the World Economic Forum on East Asia on 6 June 2013. To mark the occasion of the global...

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