Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of US$100 million to Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. (Yoma Strategic) for develop- ing Myanmar’s infrastructure connectivity needed for improving country’s economy. The loan is divided into two tranches of US$ 50 million each at a time, to be used on individual infrastructure subprojects in cooperation with Yoma Strategic’s partner companies. The first tranche will be used in building towers for telecommunication, de- veloping cold storage logistics and modernizing vehicle fleet for leasing while the sec- ond one is for transportation, distribution, logistics and other sectors.
The signing ceremony between ADB and Yoma Strategic took place on 16th Decem- ber of 2014 at Sule Shangri-la. Mr. Christo- pher Thieme, Director of Private Sector Op- erations Department said, “ Investment in connectivity infrastructure is a key factor in creating better access to economic opportu- nities, reducing costs, promoting trade, and attracting private investment into diverse geographic areas and sectors,” he continued,
“ADB is delighted to be supporting this im- portant work with Yoma Strategic that will help acceleration of Myanmar’s growth.” According to ADB, recent influx of inves- tors concentrated mostly in oil, gas, mineral sectors and light manufacturing while there is not enough investment in infrastructure projects due to an underdeveloped banking sector and capital market and a lack of al- ternative funding sources. Myanmar’s fixed and mobile telecommunication penetration rates stood at less than 1% and 7% of the population respectively in 2012. The country’s road density is less than one fifth of the average in ASEAN nations.
“It is a privilege to be chosen by ADB as a partner to work on improving Myanmar’s infrastructure” said Mr. Serge Pun, Chair- man of Yoma Strategic, “ADB’s loan will help support our goal of improving the country’s connectivity, which in turn will strengthen local markets, boost productivity and create jobs.”
Further information disclosed at the sign- ing ceremony include that the first tranche has been provided for three projects that have already started, among them are the one operated by Myanmar Tower Company (MTC) which is currently building towers for the country’s telecommunication sector. MTC has been building up to 1,250 telecom towers to be finished by March of 2015 and it targets to cover 98% of the country geo- graphically in five years. The second project is the one in cooperation with Kokubu & Co Ltd. in Cold Storage Transportation and the third one by Yoma Fleet, the organization for leasing and renting commercial vehicles. The rest US$ 50 million will be in the use of upcoming connectivity subprojects.
Yoma Strategic has a number of business organizations working in Myanmar’s di- verse sectors namely property, agriculture, tourism, automotive and retail/food and beverage (F&B).
Established in 1966, ADB is headquartered in Manila dedicating to reduce poverty and facilitate economic development in Asia and Pacific region. ADB has 67 members up un- til now with 48 of regional ones. In 2013, ADB assistance totalled US$ 21.0 billion.