Yangon: Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday reaffirmed her country’s commitment to undertake political and economic reforms to attract foreign investment but skirted the issue of multiple conflicts raging in the country, including a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Addressing the Invest Myanmar Summit 2019 in the capital, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate highlighted the geographic location of Myanmar, which shares borders with the world’s two largest growing economies: China and India.
Suu Kyi stressed that there was an immense investment opportunity in Myanmar with a growing domestic market, natural resources, cheap labour and great agricultural potential despite the slow pace of and challenges posed by the changes in the administration, Efe news reported.
Myanmar, which was ruled by the military between 1962 and 2011, began a transition to democracy eight years ago that resulted in elections in 2015, which the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy won.
“As southeast Asia’s final frontier market, final and the best, we offer a world of investment opportunities,” said the leader, re-affirming her commitment to create an investment-friendly environment.
The gross domestic product of Myanmar, one of the poorest countries in Asia, grew 6.6 per cent in 2018 and was expected to top 7 per cent in the current year, according to the Asian Development Bank.
In her 30-minute speech broadcast live by the chamber of commerce, Suu Kyi made no reference to the multiple ongoing armed conflicts in several states of the country nor to the offensive by the Myanmar Army in the western Rakhine state against members of the Rohingya ethnic minority.
Some 732,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape a military crackdown, which the UN denounced as “deliberate genocide” and “textbook ethnic cleansing”.
Rakhine, located along the western coast of Myanmar and in a key geo-strategic location, is rich in natural resources even though it has among the highest poverty rates in the country.
Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingyas as one of the nation’s ethnic groups and considers them to be illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, subjecting them to various kinds of discrimination, including restrictions on freedom of movement.