As Myanmar opens its borders for business, it needs to develop its road network to drive economic growth and take advantage of its strategic location in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
VO: Back in Myanmar after nearly a quarter of a century, it’s almost 25 years since Asian Development Bank’s last major infrastructure project here. Now, as the country opens its border to business, it needs good roads to drive the country’s economic growth and to take advantage of its strategic location. It’s a neighbor to a staggering 40% of the world’s people.
SOT: Winfried Wicklein
Country Director, Myanmar
Asian Development Bank
One of the main themes in our work in Myanmar is the connectivity. Connectivity in a larger sense. You have the internal connectivity. You want to connect people from rural areas with urban areas. You want to connect the gender gap. You want to connect the transport. You want to bring people to markets, basic services. So, the transport was an area that will require our continued attention here in Myanmar going forward.
VO: ADB is proposing a road project that would complete the final link in the Greater Mekong Subregion’s East-West Economic Corridor. It will stretch from Danang, Viet Nam to Myanmar’s coast.
SOT: Mya Thaung
Kawkareit Township, Kayin State
The road now is very narrow and consequently truck drivers experience a lot of difficulty... The people trying to trade goods and commmodities experience a lot of delays in receiving their products or moving their products to market.
VO: The new road will improve economic prospects all along the corridor. Attracting more businesses and more tourists.
SOT: U Kyaw Sein Tun
Managing Director, Dawn Vigour Construction Company
We would like to think that shopping malls and big hotels will be our kind of customers in the future. But more importantly, I think the whole state of Kayin can benefit from the road and it’s really good for the economy of the whole country as well.
VO: The expected surge of activity along the new road would bring more jobs. But with more people travelling, there’s also a greater risk of health problems like HIV transmission.
SOT: Dr. Thant Zin Min
AIDS/ STD Prevention and Control Team, State Health Department
If the highway establish there will be more migrant population and we need special program to educate them to give very specific information like where they can get the disease, where they can get the HIV.
VO: ADB builds HIV Mitigation Safeguards into all its road projects. It’s already supporting the International Office for Migration awareness and prevention work.
Dr. Kyaw Myint Htun
Research Coordinator for HIV Prevention
The support of ADB, we are seeing some success. We have a lot of experience about the people here. We also have good collaboration with industry of health and local authority so we can control the rate of infection and establish a cross border referral mechanism to help provide the necessary health care to mobile workers.
VO: Investors are eager to tap into what many call Asia’s last frontier. Better connectivity is paving the way to Myanmar and its dynamic young population. The challenge for Myanmar today is to capitalize in this enviable advantages.