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To keep moving forward: A report from Yangon

July 22, 2014 Destination ASEAN, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Some 250 delegates from 16 countries met at the annual Myanmar Banking and Business Development Conference at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel in Yangon on July 15-16.

Under the theme “Defining the Future” the conference was organized by Sphere Conferences Singapore in collaboration with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and presented the latest developments in the banking sector in Myanmar, following recent news and up-dates on foreign banks entering this last banking frontier in Southeast Asia.

It was up to H.E. U Set Aung, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar, to give the opening address and preside over the opening ceremony, while the keynote address was given by Dr. Maung Aung, Adviser at the Ministry of Commerce, to present the commercial and business climate overview in Myanmar.

Actually, Myanmar’s economic activities are based 43% on agriculture and the GDP is 950USD, the lowest in Southeast Asia, with a growth of 7.8%. Inflation is some 6% at the moment. As there is an outward looking policy and opening of the country since 2011, the foreign direct investment already reached more than 46 billion USD.

Other presentations discussed the foreign banks’ entry into Myanmar, where panelists came from the First Private Bank Myanmar, Krung Thai Bank of Thailand, and KBZ Myanmar, and centered on hot topics of foreign banking licenses, new strategies, new banking products and implementation of new technologies, such as online banking. Also, Dr. Bernhard Vogt, former Member of the Board, Business Development Bank, China, introduced a case study on setting up an SME financing practice in an emerging country.

The second day of the conference highlighted technology, which is expected to significantly impact the Myanmar banking sector. Topics covered the establishment of the CORE banking and treasury systems, branch banking and cash handling technologies, as well as banking channels and the necessary security know-hows to increase the reach of the banks. Very interesting was the presentation by Tim Scheffmann, Guest Lecturer, Myanmar Institute of Banking, on an investment limbo: Human capital or technology? What comes first?

On the social side, there was an opening dinner at the Shan Yoe Yar Restaurant in Yangon on July 15. Most of the participants of the conference agreed that Myanmar has to keep moving forward. Thus, it was announced that the next Banking and Business Development Conference will be on July 7-9, 2015 in Yangon again.

Written by : Reinhard Hohler

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