The World Bank’s board of executive directors has approved a USD31.5 million credit line from the International Development Associations (IDA) for a telecom sector reform project in Myanmar, the organisation announced in a press release. The programme intends to help develop the sector by creating the necessary policies, and establishing the regulatory and legal environment needed to foster a competitive telecommunications market. Under the project state-backed Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) will be split to separate its policy-making function from its service operations. The programme also aims to lay the groundwork for ‘eGovernment’ through the creation of a ‘Myanmar National Portal’ which will provide citizens, businesses and tourists with easy access to essential government information and services. The portal is intended to be mobile-friendly, with information in English as well as Burmese.
Ulrich Zachau, World Bank’s country director for Myanmar commented on the project: ‘The reform of Myanmar’s telecommunications sector is an integral part of lifting millions of people out of poverty. Today, Myanmar has one of the lowest rates of telecommunications and internet access in the world. The vast majority of people face high costs, poor service or a complete lack of access. This affects poor people and remote communities the most.’