- The Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 saw an unprecedented turnout of 12 Union Ministers, 10 Regional Chief Ministers and over 150 regional and state representatives and nearly 1,600 participants;
- First-ever nationwide collaboration between regional and state governments, Union Government and private business community;
- Nearly 200 private and regional business projects worth USD$20 billion showcased.
Myanmar’s inaugural national investment conference, Invest Myanmar Summit 2019, opened in the capital Nay Pyi Taw on 28 January 2019. The Summit is
For the first time, the Summit brings together ten of Myanmar’s regions – a positive sign of things to come for potential investors as the country undergoes major economic reforms. The participating states are Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, and regions Yangon, Sagaing, Mandalay, Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi.
Aimed at showcasing actionable, concrete opportunities to investors, the Summit saw nearly 200 private and regional projects on display with a total value of more than USD$20 billion.
Held in the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 (MICC-2), the Summit kicked off with a keynote speech by State Counsellor H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and welcome remarks from U Zaw Min Win, President of UMFCCI.
“Now is the time for us to be bold and ambitious,” State Counsellor H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told a full crowd of international and local investors, setting the tone for the event.
Touching on the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (“MSDP”) and recent regulatory reforms, H.E Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, “In recent years, we have undertaken a number of reforms, some major and obvious, some more subtle but, in their own way, equally significant. All are primarily focused on updating the regulatory and legal environment aimed at developing a market-based economy which targets inclusive economic growth. Necessary structural reforms have also been made to boost Myanmar’s development through greater integration with the global economy.”
She also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitate foreign direct investment, saying, “I stand here to reaffirm our commitment to continue our reforms and to build an investment-friendly environment.”
In his welcome remarks, U Zaw Min Win, President of UMFCCI said the Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 aimed to “create awareness and elevate the endeavours” of the Union Government in improving the business climate of Myanmar. He also expressed the hope that the Invest Myanmar Summit could support ongoing liberalisation and reform efforts by facilitating “firsthand discussions on a platform with the Union Government, regional and state governments and all relevant stakeholders”.
“The Invest Myanmar Summit wants to highlight practical business and accurate information, and through our thorough line-up of project showcases, presentations by key government officials and opportunities to speak directly with regional and state representatives, we hope attendees can walk away with much more clarity and direction in their journey of investing in Myanmar,” said U Wai Phyo, Chairperson of the Invest Myanmar Summit Organising Committee.
“There is no time like the present for businesses to start investing in Myanmar,” said Mandalay Region’s Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung. “Myanmar’s investment climate is at a turning point. For investors to believe in the country’s value, we must show a united front. And that begins with the gathering of key states and showcasing the best they have to offer.”
The Mandalay Region Chief Minister was among 10 Chief Ministers, and over 150 state and region government representatives in attendance at the Summit to speak on opportunities each state and region had to offer investors.
“Every region has its strengths. Prioritised sectors need support from their governments to bring in more investors. We hope that by creating mutually beneficial opportunities, we can work together with both local and international investors to make Yangon Region – and Myanmar – an investment hub for the region,” said Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein.
“With so many international investors present, the Summit is the best opportunity for regions and states to showcase the vast potential and plans each regional and state government have set in motion to develop industries, improve conditions to do business and nurture overall progress,” said Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu. “Not many, for instance, may know about our efforts to improve infrastructure, including marine seaports, tourism, and other industries important to Rakhine State.”
Other highlights of the Summit include a presentation by H.E. U Set Aung, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Finance, the key architect of MSDP and the National Project Bank. The latter is a centralised project database which enables the government to coordinate ministries and departments and prioritise key projects that will enable effective implementation of the MSDP.
U Min Ye Paing Hein, member of the National Economic Coordination Committee (NECC), spoke on the MSDP and how it will drive Myanmar’s economic future, while H.E. U Set Aung addressed how the National Project Bank will serve as the powerhouse engine that will drive the MSDP and Myanmar’s economy.
H.E. U Thaung Tun, Union Minister, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER) and U Aung Naing Oo, Director-General, Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) also spoke at the Summit.
Mike DeNoma, Chief Executive Officer, KBZ Bank said, “The Invest Myanmar Summit comes at the right time, as the country is at an important inflection point. Myanmar is one of the few mobile-first markets in the world and thus we have the rare opportunity to reach people on a 100% digital platform to bring them fully and actively into the formal economy. Our recent success with KBZPay is a testament to that.”
“We have onboarded over 1 million customers and 40,000 agents and merchants since launching just six months ago, and that momentum continues. This is being done entirely on mobile phones, including full identity and digital facial verification. This demonstrates Myanmar’s quantum leap potential in the digital age. Myanmar offers an opportunity for investors with a mobile-first vision to make next-generation business models probably better than extraordinary.”
As part of a first step in fostering a more welcoming environment for doing business, companies attending the Summit are able to register their businesses on MyCo, a digital registration system available at the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), MIFER and DICA booths. The Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 is jointly organised by MIFER, MIC, and DICA.