Myanmar to see rapid economic development and businesses growth

13 January 2017

Myanmar is projected to enjoy robust economic growth, as both local and international companies eye a host of opportunities in the country's opening economy. A new report finds that a stable policy environment as well as infrastructure investment are key drivers for the opportunities to be realised.

Myanmar, following decades of economic isolation, has – since the handover of military power in 2011 and the 2016 democratic elections – opened its economy to other economies. The opening of the country has seen economic growth accelerate, up from 5.9% in 2011, to hit a forecasted growth of 8.4% in 2017.

A new Roland Berger report, titled ‘Myanmar: A wave of optimism – will it last?’ investigates how local and international business view growth prospects in the country, as well as key factors limiting growth., offers local and global business opportunities. The report, is based on a survey of more than 200 business executives, both local and international, across major sectors.

Average annual GDP growth forecast for 2017

According to the firm’s analysis, the country is set to enjoy some of the world’s fastest economic growth, hitting 8.4% - well above Lao PDR and Cambodia, on 7% and 6.9% respective. Growth remains on a relatively low base however, the country is one of Asia’s least developed nations with a nominal GDP of around $1,500.

Technology trends, as well as the large amount of relatively free moving capital now means that, even from a low base, the pace of development of Myanmar is expected to well outpace historic trends seen in the UK and US – which took 200 years and 90 years respectively to grow $1,500 to $5,000. Much like the Asian Tigers, which saw growth rates that allowed them to make the leap in 20 years, the current conditions are likely to allow the country to leapfrog to around $5,000 nominal GDP.

Expectations are high

The research found that executives are generally upbeat about the prospects of most key sectors in the Myanmar economy, with 65% saying conditions are set to improve while 8% say that they will improve rapidly. Hotel and tourism executives were the most generally positive about the prospects for improvement, with 86% saying that there would be at least improvement. Utilities, oil & gas, chemicals respondents too are generally positive about outcomes for the country, so too are financial services respondents.

The firm cites a number of reasons why companies are upbeat, the market is seen by 80% of respondents as a frontier market in which two thirds believe government reforms are like to succeed and which has a fast growing, young, population. The further lifting of sanctions is likely to make the country even more attractive.

Some sectors are a little more cautions, construction & real estate executives, for instance, are relatively pessimistic, at 27% believing conditions will remain the same and 8% remarking that conditions are set to deteriorate slowly. Retail & distribution highlights a mixed bag of expectations, 31% are expecting rapid improvement, while the highest number, 13%, expect conditions to deteriorate.

Local and international firms regarding expansion into the marketThe research notes that both local positive about the future growth of their companies. 57% of respondents say that they are expecting to growth their businesses organically, while 55% plan to leverage partnerships with more global companies, 27% say that they will enter into partnerships with local firms – 12% say that they will tur to mergers & acquisitions (M&A) to drive growth.

International firms are predominantly focused on growing organically in the country, as cited by 67% of respondents, while 16% say that they will partner with other international firms to drive growth. Around 34% are keen to combine with local firms, while 8% say that they are planning to use M&A.

The government is faced with high expectation

The research notes too however, that, while businesses are generally positive, challenges remain. 41% say that a lack of staff with required skills needs very significant improvement, while 44% say it needs improvement. Furthermore, no clear government economic policy and unpredictable legislative environment are cited by 76% and 75% respectively as at least an area that needs significant improvement. Infrastructure too is cited as an area in which considerable development would provide a significant boost to the economy, with 97% indicating stable electricity supply and 94% broadband development.

The research notes that discrimination against foreign companies and administrative issues are the least concerning respectively, with 32% and 46% respectively suggesting that that area needs significant change.

The firm concludes, “Finally, companies that want to invest in Myanmar need to be prepared for volatility. The country is rapidly developing and changing, but still has a long way to go to catch up. The prospects for Myanmar are bright and those who are prepared to ride out the volatility are likely to be rewarded with new opportunities. Our conversations with Government officials indicate that there is awareness of the need and urgency to clarify and detail economic policies, and determination to move from planning and deliberation to action and quick wins. If this indeed happens, we will continue to see one of the fastest and most impactful transformations of a nation ever.”

More news on


Project management industry adds £156 billion of value to UK economy

15 April 2019

Project management has grown into one of UK’s largest areas of business over the past decade, amid the increasing ‘projectification’ of work. With the gross value added to the UK economy by project management estimated to be £156 billion, this trend is likely to continue in the coming era.

Despite the huge success of project management in recent years, until now there has been relatively little data available on the size of project activity. As a result, there has been a great deal of debate on things like the number of people involved in the sector, the number of projects, and how it contributes to economic output. Due to this need for clarity, APM, the UK’s professional body for project management (the largest organisation of its kind in Europe, with 28,000 individual members) commissioned economists from PwC to shed light on the industry's economic impact.

The research concluded that the profession makes a more significant contribution to the UK economy than the financial services sector. 2.13 million full-time equivalent workers (FTEs) were employed in the UK project management sector, generating £156.5 billion of annual gross value added (GVA). In comparison, the financial services sector contributes £115 billion, and the construction industry adds £113 billion.

Gross value added to UK economy

Commenting on the discovery, Debbie Dore, Chief Executive of APM said, “Project management runs as a ‘golden thread’ through businesses, helping to develop new services, driving strategic change and sector-wide reform.”

Who is a ‘project manager’?

To reach these estimates, PwC’s researchers used detailed models to map out the value of project management activity. They ultimately defined relevant ‘projects’ as “temporary, non-routine endeavours or rolling programmes of change designed to produce a distinct product, service or end result… [with] a defined beginning and end, a specific scope, a ring-fenced budget, [and] an identified and potentially dedicated team with a project manager in charge.”

Building on this, they then went on to define what the act of project management actually is. The job consists of applying “processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience” so that clients can meet their objectives and bring about planned outputs or outcomes. The analysts added that this includes “initiating the project, planning, executing, controlling, quality assuring and closing the work of an identified and dedicated team according to a specified budget and timeframe.”

Importantly, it should be noted that the profession is not exclusive to only roles explicitly labelled as ‘project manager’, but to any role where specialist project management skills are used. This means that across sectors these roles can have very different titles, from the self-explanatory contract managers of procurement, or the campaign managers of advertising, to the likes of festival co-ordinators in the events sector, and many more. The roles in question also span all strategic levels of the profession, from strategic to tactical and operational positions.

Gross value added of project management profession

From a sector perspective, the financial and professional services, construction and healthcare industries make up almost two-thirds of the total project management GVA. At the same time, understandably, the UK Government has a huge project portfolio, which further drives the size of the GVA the sector contributes, thanks to megaprojects like HS2 and Crossrail.

Commenting on this to the report’s authors, Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation remarked, “Project delivery is at the heart of all Government activity, whether it’s building roads and rail, strengthening our armed forces, modernising IT or transforming the way government provides public services to citizens. Getting these projects right is essential if we are to ensure that we build a country that works for everyone.”

Throughout 2019, 26 major government projects were delivered, representing a fifth of the overall Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) of 133 projects. According to the IPA annual report 2017-18, these represented a whole life cost of £423 billion. In addition to this were a plethora of smaller scale projects, and those in early development.

Elsewhere, with the increasing digitalisation of the economy impacting entities of all shapes and sizes, IT and digital transformations tended to dominate the projects of the UK scene alongside new product development projects, with a respective 55% and 46% of organisations in the research sample having undertaken these types of project in the past year. At the same time, this varied across sectors, and unsurprisingly, in the construction and local government sectors, fixed capital projects were the main project type undertaken.


Looking to the future, 40% of business leaders expect project management will grow in the coming years due to the increased use of projects – or the ‘projectification’ of the UK. In a trend that has been witnessed elsewhere, organisations have to rapidly and continuously change in the digital age of business, driving the need for project management.

Outlook for project management services

An increased focus on value over cost – especially in the construction sector – and a forecast increase in the number of international projects are predicted to be key drivers of growth, according to the expert contributors. However, this will not happen in the absence of challenges; more than half of organisations expressed concern over the perceived impact of political uncertainty in the UK. Skills and capability shortages were also cited as a potential barrier by a third of organisations.

With regard to budgets, meanwhile, a third of those surveyed by PwC said they expect the size of project budgets will increase in the coming three years, while 40% anticipate a growth in project size. As the profession continues to mature, and as the recognition of the importance of good project management grows, it is expected that a greater proportion of project work will gain more distinct attribution to the profession itself, giving more recognition and appreciation to the role of the project manager.

Speaking on the findings of the study, Sandie Grimshaw, a Partner at PwC, concluded, “The project management profession is relatively new compared to some other professions, such as lawyers, teachers and doctors. However, as project management is a core competence vital to organisations in the UK, the profession is critical and will continue to grow in stature.”