Tag Archives: Myanmar

Myanmar’s Ports: 3,000 Kilometers of Coast in Developing Asia

DEREK SARCHET

Located between a country that has become synonymous for export-led economic growth and a region that is now attempting to follow their lead, Myanmar finds itself in a prime position to transport the produce of the region’s factories all over the world. Exports, of course, require efficient and high-capacity ports, especially those that can handle modern, massive shipping liners with relative ease. The recipe is in the name.

Any list of Asia’s top ports resembles a who’s who of Asian Tiger economies. Singapore, Shanghai (China), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Tokyo (Japan), Busan (Republic of Korea), and Kelang (Malaysia) have all proved to be invaluable engines to their respective economies’ growth. As the world trends ever more towards increased global trade and shorter production cycles, the efficiency of ports can be the deciding factor in whether or not a venture is economical. It can also ensure livelihoods by enticing foreign capital to stay, even in the face of rising incomes. This is one reason that Chinese manufacturing continues to flourish despite galloping wage increases. Notably absent from these lists are the traditionally silted and poorly maintained ports in South Asia.  Continue reading

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New Media in Southeast Asia: Lessons from the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology

LAURA JAGLA

On July 24 – 26, the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies partnered with the Aspen Institute to convene leaders from the worlds of foreign policy and communication technology for the Institute’s 2nd Annual Dialogue on Diplomacy and Technology (ADDTech). During the conference, which focused on Southeast Asia, the attendees participated in a role-playing scenario of a diplomacy crisis in Myanmar (created by the Josef Korbel School’s Marc Nathanson Fellows). Taking the roles of diplomats, activists, bloggers, and senior government leadership (American, Chinese, and Myanmarese), participants were tasked with resolving a hypothetical hostage situation Myanmar. During the simulation, participants were presented with posts from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and additional social media sites, which gave participants rapid information with debatable reliability. While ADDTech participants took away different lessons from the simulation, I came up with several themes that pertain to the future of the Southeast Asian landscape and diplomacy: Continue reading

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Telecoms in Myanmar

DEREK SARCHET

As Myanmar continues to progress towards more liberal political institutions, one of the key demands President Thein Sein has made to foreign investors and governments is that they deliver a quick “democratic dividend” to build support for further reforms. Previously dominated by a few military elites, Myanmar is emerging from decades of a centrally planned economy, so foreign investors face almost entirely greenfield opportunities in many sectors. The previous system of institutionalized cronyism led to dominant, but lumbering, monopolies that failed to deliver even the most basic services effectively. Electricity is sparse and the state’s only telecommunications firm, Myanmar Post & Telecommunications (MPT), is so inefficient that until recently, it could cost up to $2,000 just to purchase a SIM card. Naturally, this led to very low cell phone penetration rates and has made mobile the preserve of the well-connected.
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