Forum launches report to help boost Myanmar’s energy reforms

  • world economic forum74% of Myanmar’s population lack access to electricity. Energy has been identified as a pressing challenge for the country’s economic growth
  • Report says Myanmar could emerge as the next South-East Asian frontier and paves the way for further reforms to underpin the country’s development
  • First ever comprehensive report on Myanmar’s energy sector launched at World Economic Forum on East Asia in Nay Pyi Taw

Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, 6 June 2013 – Released today, the New Energy Architecture: Myanmar Report is the first to analyse the challenges currently facing Myanmar’s energy sector and provides insights to support the country’s important energy reforms. It predicts that by renewing its energy policy, Myanmar could emerge as the next South-East Asian frontier.

Myanmar’s abundant gas resources and strategic position between some of the most dynamic Asian economies means it is crucial to regional energy security. As Myanmar reintegrates into the global economy, it will need more energy to power its own development. It therefore must develop new national energy strategies and policy frameworks that will enable sustainable economic growth, energy security and access to energy.

“Myanmar is embarking on a new phase of development and the energy sector will be very important. This comprehensive and informative study will support the economic and social development of Myanmar,” said the Myanmar Minister of Energy, U Than Htay.

The Report identifies energy as one of the most pressing economic challenges facing Myanmar today. 74% of Myanmar’s population lack access to electricity. 70% of Myanmar’s population live in rural areas, where electrification rates average only 16%. Per capita electricity consumption is among the lowest in Asia. Without electricity and a reliable energy system, Myanmar’s economic progress will stall. Addressing this will require new sources of domestic energy, an expanded and modernized electricity grid, and innovative solutions for rural energy access.

Foreign investors can bring technology and capital at the scale needed. New reforms have helped attract foreign investment in Myanmar’s energy sector, with opportunities for greater foreign ownership of joint ventures and more attractive terms of market entry.

“Myanmar has a historic opportunity to carve out its own niche in the global economy. Recasting its energy architecture will be pivotal to this transformation and to its economy’s sustainable development,” said Roberto Bocca, Senior Director, Head of Energy Industries, World Economic Forum

Providing 17 specific recommendations, the Report highlights the need for transparent governance and effective institutions in Myanmar as a sound basis for developing the country’s energy system. In addition, creating a clear environmental regulatory framework will not only underpin sustainability and social acceptance of large-scale energy projects, but will also increase transparency for investors.

“To meet the country’s rapidly growing electricity demand, expand rural energy access, and ensure environmental sustainability, Myanmar urgently needs to attract investments by improving regulatory frameworks, promoting public-private partnerships, and undertaking crucial sector reform,” said Stephen Groff, Asian Development Bank Vice-President.

To improve efficiency and the competitiveness of the domestic energy market, the Report calls for the gradual removal of energy subsidies in favour of targeted support for the poorest. It concludes that to achieve an effective transformation, Myanmar needs an integrated energy plan to guide investments and sequence reforms.

“The development of an integrated new energy plan and system offers Myanmar a significant opportunity to design a path to sustainable and secure economic growth, bolstered by its energy industry,” said Arthur Hanna, Senior Managing Director, Accenture’s Energy industry group.

About the Report: The New Energy Architecture: Myanmar Report was created in partnership with the Ministry of Energy of Myanmar. It was produced in collaboration with Accenture and the Asian Development Bank. The report includes insights by contributors from industry, government, non-governmental organizations and academia.

Sky Net is the Host Broadcaster of the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2013.