Home Insider Insider News A Third of Myanmar’s People are Poor

A Third of Myanmar’s People are Poor

A third of Myanmar’s people are poor according to the second of the twopart Myanmar Poverty Assessment. It is jointly produced by the Ministry of Planning and Finance and the World Bank using the 2015 Myanmar Poverty and Living Conditions Survey which recommends a revision and rebasing of poverty estimates to reflect changing consumption patterns in Myanmar.

The Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance Set Aung joined the World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa in a launch event for the second volume of the Myanmar Poverty Assessment on December 12. The revised poverty measures used in Myanmar include durables such as mobile phones and updated calorie estimates, courtesy of the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Consistent with the findings of the first assessment, poverty has declined significantly since 2004, falling from an estimated 48.2 % to 32.1 % in 2015. At the same time, ssing the new measures, some 15.8 million people live in poverty in Myanmar.

“Having a more detailed understanding of the characteristics and profiles of those most in need and the constraints they face enable us to prepare appropriate responses – and help reduce poverty for everyone in Myanmar, “said Maung Maung Tin, Director-General, Planning Department of Ministry of Planning and Finance.

Poor households tend to have fewer working age adults and more dependents, and fewer resources that can generate income, such as land or farming tools. The extreme poor are disproportionately in the agriculture sector as casual laborers or as small holder farmers, and have few alternatives for income.

The report highlights the economic impact of health and weather related shocks, estimating that half the country suffered from such shocks over a twelvemonth period and four percent of potential work days were lost due to  ill-health. Coping strategies such as reducing spending on food or adding more debt can impact the families’ ability to bounce back and ultimately affect long-term growth.

“Now with a better understanding and consensus on the levels and distribution of poverty in Myanmar, the World Bank is in a better position to support Myanmar’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth for all.” said Victoria Kwakwa. “Inclusion so that growth and opportunities benefit the poor and near-poor is critical for peace and prosperity.”

The poverty assessment is part of a series of analytical works outlined in the Country Partnership Framework (CPF), the World Bank Group’s first full strategy for Myanmar in 30 years. The strategy supports reforms that promote growth in rural areas, invests in services that work towards better nutrition, health, education, infrastructure, and more jobs.