Official name Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Political capital Naypyidaw
Local currency Kyat (MMK)
Official languages Burmese

Why Myanmar

In March 2012, a draft foreign investment law emerged, the first in more than 2 decades. Foreigners will no longer require a local partner to start a business in the country, and will be able to legally lease but not own property. The draft law also stipulates that Burmese citizens must constitute at least 25% of the firm's skilled workforce, and with subsequent training, up to 50–75%.

In 2012, the Asian Development Bank formally began re-engaging with the country, to finance infrastructure and development projects in the country. The United States, Japan, and the European Union countries have also begun to reduce or eliminate economic sanctions to allow foreign direct investment which will provide the Burmese government with additional tax revenue.

In December 2014, Myanmar signed an agreement to set up its first stock exchange. The Yangon Stock Exchange Joint Venture Co. Ltd will be set up with Myanma Economic Bank sharing 51 percent, Japan's Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd 30.25 percent and Japan Exchange Group 18.75 percent. The Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) officially opened for business on Friday, March 25, 2016. First Myanmar Investment Co., Ltd. (FMI) became the first stock to be traded after receiving approval for an opening price of 26,000 kyats ($22).

Investment opportunities in Myanmar


Nowadays, Myanmar is one of the most dynamic countries in Southeast Asia and the investment potential is certainly high and steadily growing in the near future.

The strengths of the economy are:

  • the wealth of raw materials such as hydrocarbons, timber, fish products, rice and legumes;
  • the absolutely significant size of the Myanmarese market;
  • the abundant presence of cheap labour.

The sectors in which to invest today vary from energy (electricity, gas, renewable sources) to construction and information and communication services. The areas of greatest interest to businesses are: oil & gas, agriculture and agricultural mechanization, food processing, stone and construction materials, textiles and clothing, packaging, industrial machinery, tourism and fishing.

The most developed production sector is the agricultural one, which represents 36% of the product and employs the majority of the population. The most promising agricultural productions are: rubber, palm oil, fruit and vegetables such as mango, banana, watermelon and pineapple, sugar, cotton, juta, pesticide production, edible oils, foodstuffs in general, animal food. Among the manufacturing industries the most important are textile and packaging.

Opportunities and investment tools

Myanmar and investment opportunities. According to the New Myanmar - Italian Business Guide (conducted by ICE Bangkok in June 2013), the form of investments, governed by the 2012 Investment Act, are the following:

  • Partnerships and capital companies with or without local partner, or Representative office of a foreign company in Myanmar.
  • Contracts with State-Owned Economic Enterprise (SEE) for exploration, extraction and sale of oil and natural gas and mining activities.
  • Joint venture with an individual local firm, a company, a cooperative association or a state enterprise.

A foreign investor who intends to invest in Myanmar must obtain permission from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and may obtain incentives provided by law for foreign investors. Foreign investors are therefore allowed to own 100% of the company's stock package. For joint ventures formed under the Investment Law, the amount of invested capital is agreed by both parties involved. The minimum investment is determined by the Commission for Investments according to the type of project.

Myanmar-Phillippines Programme

Given the new climate of openness towards foreign policy in Myanmar and the numerous investment opportunities offered by the country, UNIDO ITPO Italy and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development have launched a project aimed at creating opportunities for interaction between Italian and Burmese companies, through the consolidation of government and institutional contacts.

The project has the dual purpose of strengthening the cooperation relations between Myanmar and Italy and identifying local industries with a potential for growth and competitiveness. Initiatives at local and international levels aimed at supporting investment, technology transfer and trade will also be identified. The Ministry of Economic Development and UNIDO ITPO Italy will be involved in the creation of partnerships with Burmese government institutions and associations linked to the private sector, and will identify a focal point to support local investment.

Planned activities

  • Identification of government institutions and local associations in support of the private sector and investment
  • Spread to the Italian business world data related to the macroeconomic and development indicators of the productive sectors, in order to raise awareness of the evolution of the local economy
  • Identification and promotion of existing initiatives for SMEs and the sectors in which capacity building activities and business partnership are necessary
  • Organization of an exploratory mission UNIDO-MISE facilitating institutional contacts for the coordination of future initiatives
  • Placement of a local focal point to support technology transfer and investment on site
  • Definition of Burmese industrial sectors characterized by potential for growth and competitiveness
  • Organization of a High Level Forum in Italy, involving institutional representatives of Myanmar to strengthen the institutional cooperation between Myanmar and Italy
  • Organization of several institutional and entrepreneurial incomings, aimed at strengthening the cooperation between the two Countries


Ongoing programmes

UNIDO ITPO Italy and Assogemme in Myanmar to implement partnerships in the gems sector
Myanmar: incoming mission on gems sector
Numerous investment opportunities presented during the Myanmar Country Presentation
Myanmar Minister of Agriculture visits Ortosole
Myanmar Delegation participates to MARMOMACC 2014
Myanmar, several investment opportunities scouted during UNIDO mission