Entrepreneurs du Monde's program in Myanmar
Myanmar's geographical, historical and economic setting
54 Mof inhabitants
145 thHDI ranking
67% of workerslive with $2 a day
Despite its abundant natural resources (oil, gas, gold, rubies, copper and teak), Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Following nearly five decades of isolationist rule by the Burmese military junta (1962 – 2011) which saw Myanmar’s descent from one of the richest countries in Southeast Asia to 148th of 185 countries on the Human Development Index, in the last five years the country has slowly begun to reopen itself to the world and allow foreign investment to stimulate economic growth and development.
Although change is accelerating, particularly following the National League for Democracy’s historic landslide victory at the November 2015 elections, inequality and poverty levels remain high. Whilst the unemployment rate in Myanmar is estimated to be just 2.5% of the total population, the under employment rate is chronically high thought to exceed 38% . There are also currently major gaps in the retail banking product offering and the insufficient spread of microfinance services across the country has left behind large poverty pockets. A 2014 UNCDF study “Making Access Possible” (MAP) found that 30% of the 39 million adults in Myanmar use regulated financial services, but 24% use only one service.
Entrepreneurs du Monde in Myanmar
In 2011, Entrepreneurs du Monde gained its INGO registration in Myanmar and in April 2014 it started activities under its Myanmar program, Sont Oo Tehtwin (“entrepreneur” in Burmese), a microfinance institution providing financial services (loans and savings) and business development services to communities in Southern Yangon.
Since 2013, Entrepreneurs du Monde has also provided support to community self-help groups in Southern Yangon, for the implementation of saving and credit plans, managed by the communities themselves. EdM has also worked to support microfinance institutions to improve their social performance management in the sector in Myanmar.