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Yangon Chief Minister Claims Yangon to be Regional Hub

During last week of September, Phyo Min Thein, (Yangon Chief Minister) and a team from Oxford Business Group (OBG) held a meeting to develop Yangon into a regional economic and trading hub.

P h y o M i n T h e i n t o l d O B G ’ s representatives that the regional government aimed to build on Yangon’s competitive advantages, which include its growing population, traditional role as the county’s main commercial and trading city and strategic location that could become a gateway for Myanmar’s landlocked neighbors to access international markets. As the Chief Minister explained, “Maritime trade will play a determinant role, since 90% of the goods imported into Myanmar enter through the Port of Yangon”. The Chief Minister said that bringing the regional government’s vision for the city to fruition as a relevant center of economic activity in the region would require t h e r o l l i n g out of major transpor-tation and logistics p r o j e c t s c o n n e c t i n g Y a n g o n t o the rest of the c o u n t r y a n d i m p r o v i n g mobility within the city. “At the same time, we will have to expand dry port and storage capacity to create the conditions needed to further develop local industry and the manufacturing sector,” he noted

Thein as part of their work on The Report: Myanmar 2018, the global research and consultancy firm’s fifth publication on the country’s economy which will include an in-depth interview with the chief minister. The Report will also chart the progress o f t h e m a n y i n f r a s t r u c t u r e p r o j e c t s e a r m a r k e d f o r Y a n g o n a n d the rest of the country, which form an essential c o m p o n e n t o f efforts to meet rising demand for public services and launch the foundations for sustainable economic growth.

Yangon’s severe infrastructure gaps, which have been exacerbated by the city’s growing population, were also key topic of discussion at the meeting. “Yangon’s expansion in recent decades has not been followed by the modernization of its infrastructure and this is now putting pressure on the city’s management and public services,” Phyo Min Thein acknowledged. Traffic congestion is a major problem across the city, made worse by the poor state of Yangon’s roads and the absence of an integrated system of public transportation. The regional government has introduced a centralized traffic management system and started to work on solutions to improve mobility to begin addressing the challenges it faces. In this context, Phyo Min Thein highlighted the key role that the centralization of the city’s bus network is likely to play in providing an “an integrated and affordable” service for Yangon’s citizens. “The next steps in improving Yangon’s public transport services will be the upgrade of its Circular Train System and the creation of a water transportation system plan,” he told OBG.