World Bank: Coup Threatens Myanmar’s Development Prospects

By The Irrawaddy 2 February 2021

YANGON — The World Bank says Myanmar’s military coup threatens Myanmar’s development as businesses fear for reforms made under the civilian government and foreign direct investment in the country.

On Tuesday, some foreign firms, including the Suzuki Motor Corporation, ceased operations to ensure the safety of employees after the coup.

The World Bank said it is “gravely concerned” about the situation and the wellbeing of citizens.

The bank said it is firmly committed to Myanmar’s transition to democracy and its efforts to achieve sustainable growth and social inclusion.

In December, the global financial institution forecast that Myanmar’s economy will start a slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in March. It estimated that economic growth would recover 7 percent due to public investment, a resurgence in manufacturing and productivity gains from technological improvements.

Businesses are now saying any recovery is in jeopardy with further investment unlikely and major firms planning to cease operations due to political instability.

The Japanese media reported on Tuesday that Suzuki had halted production at its two automobile plants in Myanmar due to concerns for its nearly 400 employees.

A foreign business leader based in Yangon, who asked for anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that many investors are still in shock as the coup put billions of dollars worth of foreign investment at risk.

He said businesses are still trying to decide what to do.

On Monday, the military staged the coup and detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and declared a one-year state of emergency.

Defending its actions, the military claimed it was forced to act over what it called electoral fraud in the Nov. 8 general election and the civilian government’s failure to address the issues.

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