Rakhine ups efforts to draw investments, hopes for development

Rakhine State will target investments in tourism, fisheries and agriculture at an investment fair that will be held in February in Ngapali, southern Rakhine, Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu told the media in Yangon yesterday.

With the aim of drawing funds that will be channelled towards the development of the state, the three-day Rakhine State Investment Fair, will start on February 21. The fair will organised by the state government, with support from the Japanese government.

State officials say, in the tourism sector, there are opportunities to invest in hotels and other tour activities in Ngapali Beach, which is in Thandwe Township, as well as in other beaches in Gwa and Kyeintali townships and the Mrauk-U heritage area.

In fisheries, funds are needed to build, upgrade and expand fish farms and processing factories, while agriculture will require investments in technology and converting existing farmland into areas which can double up as agri and aquaculture zones.

Other sectors with growth potential include foodstuffs and garment manufacturing, power generation and distribution, education, healthcare and infrastructure, U Nyi Pu said.

Rakhine is also home to the upcoming Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone in partnership with China and involved in the Kalatan River Route Project with India.

“Our aim is to generate investor interest in Rakhine State and draw more funds for development,” U Nyi Pu said.

Efforts to lure investors come amid recurring bouts of violence between armed groups and the Tatmadaw in the northern part of Rakhine. But U Nyi Pu said conflict is only taking place in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine. “It is not the whole region that is involved in conflict,” he said.

“We are trying to solve the conflict through economic development and new investments,” he added.

U Kyaw Hlaing, chair of Myanmar Survey Research (MSR), which is also supporting the fair, said “investments will create job opportunities and bring new technologies and funds to local businesses, allowing them to upgrade and expand. Investing in the development of Rakhine will also have a positive social impact in the state,” he said.

MSR has conducted extensive research on investing in Rakhine and will launch its report at the investment fair.

Currently, a total of 17 foreign companies have invested up to US$9 billion in hotels and tourism, livestock and fisheries and oil and gas in Rakhine, according to official data.


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