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How Myanmar's Elections Could Dampen Its Investment Climate

Dec 10, 2019 | 20:10 GMT
Myanmar army generals Tun Tun Nyi, Soe Naing Oo and Zaw Min Tun (left to right) discuss their intent to thwart constitutional changes by the governing National League for Democracy.

Maj. Gen. Tun Tun Nyi, Maj. Gen. Soe Naing Oo and Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun (left to right) of Myanmar's military information committee discuss their intent to thwart attempts by leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to alter the "essence" of the country's constitution at a news conference in February 2019.

(YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images)

In the months leading up to Myanmar's late 2020 elections, an atmosphere of political uncertainty and a risk-averse approach to reforms will combine to make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment, even as it pushes to diversify beyond Chinese involvement. Myanmar's next government will likely be more divided and incoherent than the one now led by the National League for Democracy, with added complexity expected as ethnic minority, military-aligned and other parties jockey for position. More immediately, in the run-up to the election, the risks associated with spikes in anti-Muslim communal violence, stepped-up military offensives in ethnic border regions and a stagnating peace process with insurgents will rise. These factors, combined with the global trade slowdown, could limit Myanmar's economic growth. The 2020 vote, coming a decade into Myanmar's post-dictatorship period, will be a key test for the country's new political balance....

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