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OECD highlights opportunities in Burma, urges urgent reforms

OECD have issued their latest recommendations (Photo: OECD)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a forum of 34 countries which aims to address globalisation issues, released a new report on Burma on Wednesday, part of the group’s ongoing Multi-dimensional Review of Myanmar [Burma] project. Of the latest economic investigation, it says that “overall, the report finds that the need for reform is immense.”

A number of recommendations for essential progress were made. There were calls to make a structural transformation towards a more manufacturing and service-based economy, filling the skills gap and financing development.

The report spoke of opportunities in Burma, highlighting the scope for expansion and diversification in the agriculture sector but also acknowledging structural constraints. Only 2.5 percent of total government loans are made to the rural sector, despite the fact that it accounts for 30 percent of GDP and two-thirds of employment.

The report stressed meeting the needs of the labour market through reformation of education and skills policies and noted the skill-deficit and lack of employee training.

Realisation of Burma’s potential could be achieved if its development needs are supported by effective mobilisation and allocation of financial resources, the report went on to say.

While Burma has undergone significant changes in recent years, there are still serious challenges faced if economic and social development is to be sustainable and genuinely meaningful for Burmese people, it said. Burma’s failed education system is in urgent need of reform, most desperately in rural areas, the report added.

The third phase of the Multi-dimensional Country Review is due later this year with a final report.