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Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Flag of Myanmar Emblem of Myanmar
Anthem
Kaba Ma Kyei
Map of Burma
CapitalNaypyidaw
Government Presidential republic
President
- From 2010Thein Sein
Legislature Assembly of the Union
- Upper houseHouse of Nationalities
- Lower houseHouse of Representatives
History
October 21, 2010Established
Area676,578 km²
Population
- 200955,400,000
 Density81.8/km²
GDP2009 (PPP)
- TotalUS$ 69.2 billion
- Per capitaUS$ 1,250
Currencykyat
Flag of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma Myanmar
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The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is a presidential republic in Southeast Asia.


Background

Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In September 1988, the military deposed NE WIN and established a new ruling junta. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and subsequently transferred to house arrest. She was finally released in November 2010. After the ruling junta in August 2007 unexpectedly increased fuel prices, tens of thousands of Burmese marched in protest, led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks. In late September 2007, the government brutally suppressed the protests, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. Since then, the regime has continued to raid homes and monasteries and arrest persons suspected of participating in the pro-democracy protests. Burma in early May 2008 was struck by Cyclone Nargis, which claimed over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. Parliamentary elections held in November 2010, considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the junta's Union Solidarity and Development Party garnering over 75% of the seats. Parliament convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. The vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN are former or current military officers.[1]

Economy

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime's mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business cronies exploit the country's ample natural resources. The transfer of state assets, especially real estate, to cronies and military families in 2010 under the guise of a privatization policy further widened the gap between the economic elite and the public. The economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including unpredictable inflation, fiscal deficits, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, a distorted interest rate regime, unreliable statistics, and an inability to reconcile national accounts. Burma's poor investment climate hampers the inflow of foreign investment; in recent years, foreign investors have shied away from nearly every sector except for natural gas, power generation, timber, and mining. The exploitation of natural resources does not benefit the population at large. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Over 60% of the FY 2009-10 budget was allocated to state owned enterprises - most operating at a deficit. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries - especially oil and gas, mining, and timber - with the latter two causing significant environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing, tourism and services, struggle in the face of inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable trade policies, neglected health and education systems, and endemic corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 caused 20 private banks to close; private banks still operate under tight restrictions, limiting the private sector's access to credit. The United States, the European Union, and Canada have imposed financial and economic sanctions on Burma. US sanctions, prohibiting most financial transactions with Burmese entities, impose travel bans on senior Burmese military and civilian leaders and others connected to the ruling regime, and ban imports of Burmese products. These sanctions affected the country's fledgling garment industry, isolated the struggling banking sector, and raised the costs of doing business with Burmese companies, particularly firms tied to Burmese regime leaders. The global crisis of 2008-09 caused exports and domestic consumer demand to drop. Remittances from overseas Burmese workers - who had provided significant financial support for their families - slowed or dried up as jobs were lost and migrant workers returned home. Although the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, significant improvements in economic governance, the business climate, and the political situation are needed to promote serious foreign investment.[2]

President

  • Thein Sein () (October 21, 2010 - )



Nation

Burmese Polities

Neighbouring Nations

References

  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview

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