The East Asia regional meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), formally opened on June 6 in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw. The WEF is an independent Switzerland-based organization that aims to improve economic growth by bringing together business, political, and academic stakeholders to develop global, regional, and industry agendas.
Myanmar’s hosting of the forum underscores both the country’s significant political and economic opening since the transfer to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, as well as its potential as a future economic powerhouse of Asia.
The event, however, also draws attention to Myanmar’s very low levels of foreign investment following years of isolation. The WEF is widely seen as a ‘test run’ for Myanmar’s capacity to chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2014.
Below we examine the forum by the numbers:
The number of available hotel rooms in the new capital of Naypyidaw. Minister for Hotels and Tourism Htay Aung has stated that all of Naypyitaw’s 3,000 rooms are completely booked, with over 900 participants from 55 countries and their support staff.
The amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) Myanmar received in fiscal year 2012. The figure is roughly the same amount of FDI as Laos received in 2012, which has one tenth the population of Myanmar.
The amount of foreign capital McKinsey & Company predicts Myanmar will need to meet its investment requirement of $650 billion, according to a report released in early June.
The increase in land concessions to businesses and state agencies between January 31, 2011 and March 31, 2012, according to recent statistics. The Ministry of Agriculture is permitted to transfer unused land to such entities for business purposes, but critics say concessions often include community land and can disrupt farming and livelihoods.
The number of people McKinsey says Myanmar could lift out of poverty by 2030. The consulting firm says the country’s economy could grow from $45 billion in 2010 to more than $200 billion in 2030. In doing so, Myanmar could create 10 million non-agricultural jobs.