The private sector plays an increasingly important role in the lives of Myanmar people. But business investments can have both positive and negative impacts. Local communities can experience loss of livelihoods, land and restricted access to natural resources like water and forests. On the other hand, businesses can contribute to economic growth and provide new employment opportunities.
Oxfam works across Myanmar to improve how investment is benefitting communities. Together with our partners Scholar Institute and the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), we are supporting specific communities whose lives and livelihoods are expected to be heavily impacted by the development of investments including cement plants in Kayah and Kayin States, coal power plant development in Shan State, through acquisition of agricultural land in Magwe and through development of a Special Economic Zone in Kyauk Phyu, Rakhine State. Where investments like these are being developed, Oxfam and its partners work closely with local communities to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities that will come with the investments, and build accountability and transparency of how decisions about investments are made, to help ensure those communities have sustainable livelihoods now and into the future.
Equally important for how investment happens are the laws, rules and policies governing how investment is promoted and how companies behave. Oxfam is working with Government, Ethnic Administrations, the private sector and civil society organisations to help improve legal frameworks for how investment happens, and strengthen policies, such as the Myanmar Agriculture Development Strategy, to ensure they deliver for the majority not just the few.