Asialink and AusAID host first Myanmar business round table

SYDNEY, 19 June 2013 – The benefits of Australia’s aid program working alongside the Australian private sector was the focus for more than 60 representatives of Myanmar, the Federal Government, academia and business at the AusAID Asialink Myanmar Business Roundtable.

The Myanmar business round table was one in a series that AusAID is hosting with the Australian business sector. The initiative is in line with the government’s strategy to promote greater engagement with business on its aid program, described in depth by AusAID’s Director General, Peter Baxter, in his Asialink Essay last month, Australian Aid in the Asian Century: Growth spurs a new approach.

The Myanmar business round table was attended by a high-level delegation from Myanmar, led by the Deputy Minister for Commerce, H.E. Dr Pwint Hsan, as well as key decision makers from the Ministry of Commerce, Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, and the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development. 

Myanmar representatives provided advice on the country’s development challenges, and priorities and policies concerning private-sector growth and investment.

Delegates discussed investment in Myanmar and opportunities for business engaging with Australia’s aid program.

Asialink Chairman Sid Myer co-chaired the round table with Rod Brazier, AusAID’s First Assistant Director General, East Asia Division.

“Aid and business can work together, sensibly and responsibly, to help further the achievements being made by Myanmar,” Mr Myer said.

Mr Myer also chairs the Australia Myanmar Business Taskforce, which was set up in 2012 to help establish closer economic co-operation with Myanmar and offer assistance in developing policy and legislative frameworks.

The Taskforce is working to help position Australia to participate in the opportunities that emerge as Myanmar develops. It aims to have an extensive and positive impact on the development of local capacity within Myanmar.

Australia is increasing aid to Myanmar from $64.2 million in 2012-13, to $82.8 million in 2013-14 and $100 million in 2015-16. This will go towards improving basic education and health services, enabling poor and vulnerable households in rural areas to improve agricultural practices and increase their incomes, helping conflict and disaster-affected communities, and supporting reform and improved governance.

Mr Brazier said: “Engaging with Australian business on development priorities can help strengthen efforts to overcome poverty in the countries where our aid program operates… There is great scope for sharing ideas between AusAID and Australian business operating in Myanmar.”