Data provided by iNet BFA
Loading...
See More

Gates, US corporate captains to visit Myanmar

Jan 11 2012 14:20 Reuters

Related Articles

Bill Gates urges G20 to assist poor

Global recovery taking hold: Buffett

Gates, Buffett bid to open Indian wallets

Billionaires vow to give away wealth

Soros joins Forbes billionaires list

Barclays admits breaking US sanctions

 
Yangon - A delegation of American business leaders, including Microsoft chairperson Bill Gates, will visit Myanmar soon, Myanmar industry officials said on Wednesday, another sign of strengthening US ties with the long-isolated state despite sanctions.

The visit would come less than three months after Hillary Clinton became the first US secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years and said Washington stood ready to support reforms in the country and possibly lift sanctions.

The trip, expected in February, is unusual given the presence of US sanctions but it coincides with the most dramatic reforms in the resource-rich, former British colony since the military took power in what was then known as Burma in a 1962 coup.

“A team of high-level American businessmen including Bill Gates is due to visit,” said one business leader and senior member of the Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries (MFCCI) who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the media.

A spokesperson for Gates was not immediately available for comment.

Business executives, mostly from Asia, have swarmed into the commercial capital Yangon in recent weeks to scout for investment opportunities in the country of 60 million people, one of the last frontier markets in Asia.

Japanese delegation

Another industry official said the US executives would meet President Thein Sein, visit tourist spots and spend time with local business leaders, many of whom face targeted sanctions by the US government.

Some investment analysts have compared Myanmar’s state of development to Vietnam in 1994 when American sanctions against Hanoi were lifted. But Myanmar’s location is considered more strategic, nestled between rising powers India and China with ports on the Indian Ocean.

Before late last year, when reforms gathered steam, China was emerging as the dominant investor in the country’s resources - from natural gas to timber and precious gems.

Chinese workers are building a multi-billion dollar pipeline, hydropower dams and highway projects that underpin more than $14bn of pledged Chinese investment in Myanmar’s 2010/11 (April-March) fiscal year, taking total foreign direct investment promises to $20bn from just $300m a year before, official data show.

Executives from Japanese companies have also taken an interest in recent weeks. Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano this week leads a delegation that includes officials from Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsui, Itochu, JX Nippon Oil & Energy and Marubeni.

Last week, US billionaire investor George Soros visited the country and said he had agreed to set up an official base for his philanthropic work in Myanmar after meetings with the country’s president and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has been closed off to the world for nearly half a century of often-brutal authoritarian rule. The former military regime handed power in March to a civilian government stacked with former generals, who surprised the world by embarking on a programme of reforms and strengthening relations with the West.

Myanmar, however, remains vastly underdeveloped and is one of Asia’s poorest countries after decades of isolation, sanctions and economic mismanagement by its former military rulers.
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

A cash flow crunch often occurs in small businesses trying to balance cash coming in with cash going out. Watch this video to help you improve.
 
 

Savings survey not realistic

Fin24 readers respond to an in-house survey, which found that 60% of readers were confident that they would be financially comfortable in their retirement.

 
 

Start saving...

Time the key for retirement saving
Dummy's guide to saving
Save money with affordable account
All about endowments

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...