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Myanmar’s economic liberalisation: Three years on

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Makinson Simon
Simon Makinson

Partner

Hong Kong

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Mythen James
James Mythen

Partner - ASEAN

Singapore

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Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson

Partner

Bangkok

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Jaggs Stephen
Stephen Jaggs

Managing Partner

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Htet Joshua
Joshua Htet

Senior Associate

Yangon

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Burkett Chris
Chris Burkett

Counsel

Bangkok

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25 July 2019

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (the NLD) celebrates its third anniversary of government this year. Fourteen months from now, campaigning will commence for Myanmar’s 2020 general election, which will be its third since the country’s reintroduction of free elections in 2010. This offers an opportune moment to consider the performance of the NLD government in the past three years since their assumption of control.

Myanmar

The report card is far from perfect, with critics often citing, among other things, the lack of a sound policy agenda, hasty restructuring of the ministries and a lack of coordination and late appointment of qualified and experienced personnel, each of which have acted as setbacks to the momentum of economic reform, alongside exacerbating issues around accountability, human rights, peace and security. Nevertheless, Myanmar’s investment environment, amidst formidable challenges, has continued to both grow and evolve, albeit at a slower pace and with more limited results than many had hoped.

With the Myanmar’s 2020 general election (2020 Election) looming on the horizon, it is timely to assess the performance of the NLD government, as led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (State Counsellor), over the last three years since it took control in 2016. Results have been mixed, with backward steps taken in political and social policy, while economic growth remains positive, but slower and weaker than had been anticipated. In this bulletin, we explore Myanmar’s current affairs and the impact made by the NLD government in the last three years, with a focus on public administration and policy, the economy and investment, the elections, the peace process and the Rakhine crisis in that period.