Western business not rushing to invest in Myanmar

Western investors appear reluctant to bid on open public tenders in Myanmar despite having expressed some interest, say analysts examining government foreign investment projects.

The government wants business giants from the West to bid on its projects to take advantage of their state-of-the-art technology and experience. Due to lack of Western involvement, the government has had to choose investors from among countries in the region.

"The situation right now is study time for investors and they are coming in and out," said Dr. Wah Wah Maung, deputy director general from the National Planning and Economic Development Ministry. "Reliable investors are needed.

"International investors should be bidding to win open tenders for joint ventures. If they don’t participate in bidding, a party participating in the bid will be chosen."

Companies from China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore are currently the biggest investors in Myanmar. As of January 31, 2015, 37 countries were permitted to do business in Myanmar with capital investment totaling about US$ 53.17 billion.

Economists have suggested that more foreign developers should be selected for the upcoming Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone projects. Myanmar will hold a general election late this year, but the current government will give the go-ahead on these projects.

Meanwhile, American newspapers, including the influential Washington Post, have written that many American investors have said that the unstable political climate in the country and lingering sanctions are discouraging them from greater investment in Myanmar.