Infrastructure is critical for economic growth. It facilitates trade, connects markets, enhances mobility, and boosts productivity. Yet, the current state of infrastructure development in Myanmar remains weak, acting as a key constraint on growth. While there has been significant growth in the country’s paved road network, the vast majority of the network – around 60% - remains unpaved.
The Government of Myanmar sees infrastructure development as one of its top priorities. They are already undertaking a massive scale-up in electricity infrastructure under their National Electrification Plan (NEP). Now, the government is keen to expand its efforts into other crucial areas for infrastructure investment, such as improving its road network. The recently released Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) lays out the long-term vision of the government’s priorities for development. They are keen to dramatically improve the status of infrastructure in the country. A notable aspect of this is upgrading dilapidated parts of the network, while expanding access to currently under-connected areas through the development of a new National Rural Road Access Program.
This study, by request of key government members around the MSDP, will provide assistance in prioritising investments into infrastructure. While there is a clear sense of what investments are necessary, there is less understanding about how to plan these investments around other complementary infrastructure investments and subsequently which investments should be prioritised. This builds on, the researchers’ current engagement evaluating Myanmar’s National Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP). A component of this evaluation looks at estimating costs and benefits of rural roads constructed under the CDD and government programs.
As a first step towards infrastructure planning, the Government of Myanmar has constituted a “Project Bank”. A repository of potential infrastructure projects that meet certain criteria and expect to be funded. The project bank mechanism is an inter-ministerial effort and is being supported by many stakeholders, including various donors. Working closely with Myanmar Development Institute (MDI) as well as government stakeholders from the relevant ministries and departments, this study will provide inputs into how to further develop the Project Bank and related processes, including the criteria for selection and prioritisation.