Capacity Development for the private sector

Project description

Title: Capacity development for private sector development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Myanmar
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Planning and Economic Development
Overall term: 2012 to 2016

Context
Since 2011, the Government of Myanmar has been taking the first steps in reforming its economic policy. To ensure the sustainability of the economy, the country has initiated a process of structural change. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar is planning a comprehensive modernisation of its economy. It wants to make itself competitive in time for the planned introduction of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. However, steps taken to date show that government decision-makers still lack the institutional, political and technical capacities to develop and implement the necessary legislation, regulations and strategies.

Similarly, in both the public and private sectors there is still a shortage of competences and instruments for promoting sustainable private sector development in the country, especially in terms of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Objective
Public and private institutions in Myanmar are capable of promoting sustainable private sector development.

Approach
The project staff are advising the government on the design of the economic and policy framework, and on the creation of consulting services for SMEs. They are working together with representatives of the private sector to prepare them for the new markets. The federal states and regions should also benefit from the developments. Pilot measures to support local and regional economic development are therefore being implemented in Myanmar’s biggest state, Shan State. Particular emphasis is placed on socially and environmentally sustainable economic development. The project itself is an integral part of Myanmar’s preparations for the AEC, as a member of ASEAN.

After receiving organisational advice, non-state partners such as chambers of commerce, associations and civil society organisations are able to expand the services they offer their members. Cooperation is therefore increasing between the state and non-state players. The project brings together representatives of the private sector and of the government at the same table, which allows the wishes of the entrepreneurs to be fed into the development and implementation of new legislative initiatives.

Since the beginning of 2015, with EU financing, the activities have also been expanded to address reforms in the area of trade. The project staff now advise the relevant institutions and producers on meeting quality standards for food products to pave the way for their export to the EU.

Results
The Ministry of Industry’s SME Centre has set up 16 regional offices which advise smaller and mid-sized enterprises throughout the country. Several hundred companies have taken part in entrepreneurship training and are now working to improve their competitiveness. In Yangon, the SME Centre has launched a series of open events designed to inform the public about current economic development issues. The Chambers of Commerce and Industry are also adapting their internal structures and processes to make their services more efficient and effective for their members.

In the Shan State, tea farmers and operators of small processing businesses have jointly decided to modernise two tea processing factories to enable them to sell their products on the international market. Mango farmers in the same state are in talks with investors about building a packaging plant for fruits from the region. These initiatives go hand-in-hand with the Shan State’s regional government’s initial efforts to foster a participatory approach to planning long-term economic development. The project advises civil servants at various administrative levels on working with the private sector and civil society, in order to shape planning processes and ensure sustainable development in the region.