DICA Advocates for Investment in Conflict Zones

By the end of the month, the Myan­mar Investment Commission will open a branch office in Sittwe to “provide a solution to re­gional conflict,” U Than Aung Kyaw, Deputy Di­rector General of Direc­torate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) told Myanmar Business Today.

Both the Union and State governments have expressed their desire to achieve not only peace and stability in the re­cently embattled Rakhine State, but also economic development.

“Bringing long-term investment into conflict areas may provide a so­lution to the fighting that has consumed Northern Rakhine State for the last two weeks. Investment creates job opportunities and increased standards of living for residents,” U Than Aung Kyaw said in a phone interview with My­anmar Business Today.

The deputy director spoke about the MIC’s efforts to decentralize in­vestment approval away from Yangon and into re­gional offices.

He pointed to the po­tential of Rakhine State’s tourism sector, vast ag­ricultural latency, and nearby access to trading partners Bangladesh and India.

When asked about the effects of conflict on for­eign or local investment, especially as a deterrent for the international com­munity, the deputy direc­tor simply replied that investment boosts job creation.

The majority of current foreign and local invest­ment goes to Yangon, with relatively small amounts trickling into Rakhine State’s tourism industries in Thandwe and Ngapali townships.

The latest surge of con­flict in Rakhine State began after members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked a 10 police out­posts and weapons caches on August 25.

Since violence broke out, over 120,000 ‘Ben­gali’ men, women, and children have fled the country to seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh, garnering widespread criticism and concern from the international community.

Economic analysts, experts, and academics agree that conflict ad­versely affects investment by destabilizing local fi­nancial and political in­stitutions, creating enor­mous risk that is typically unattractive to investors.

Currently, there are ongoing armed conflicts in Eastern Chin state, Northern Shan State, Northern Rakhine State, and swaths of Kachin State.

From the start of fiscal year to September 1, MIC has approved 120 foreign investments with assets of $3 billion and 45 local investment proposal with the assets of K1.4 trillion ($10.35 billion), accord­ing to DICA statistics.

Source: Myanmar Business Today