Myanmar’s government unveils a 238-point economic reform plan

Mar 01, 2018

THE Yangon Stock Exchange does not lack ambition. It is housed within the imposing former headquarters of the central bank. The two guards manning the entrance protect a stack of visitor badges, mostly unused. Inside, a list of “missions”—integrity, fairness and openness—hangs beside a Christmas tree which still has presents stacked beneath it in late February. Books by Warren Buffett and Thomas Piketty are prominently displayed. The centrepiece is a series of television screens tracking the fortunes of the five companies listed on the exchange. When a power cut momentarily shuts everything down, one of the 20 employees is reassuring. “Don’t worry—we have a generator,” he explains, as the lights gradually return.

When Myanmar’s transition to democracy began in 2011, the government seemed equally hopeful for the economy. The president of the day, Thein Sein, a former army general, started reversing half a century of stasis and isolation. He gave the central bank more independence and awarded mobile licences to foreign telecoms companies....

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