urban population: 34% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
It is a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Myanmar's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the mismanagement of the previous regime. Approximately 32% of the population lives in poverty and Myanmar is the poorest country in Southeast Asia.
The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Wealth from country's ample natural resources is concentrated in the hands of an elite group of military leaders and business associates. In 2010-11, the transfer of state assets - especially real estate - to military families under the guise of a privatization policy further widened the gap between the economic elite and the public.
The economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, fiscal deficits, lack of commercial credit further distorted by a non-market interest rate regime, unpredictable inflation, unreliable economic data, and an inability to reconcile national accounts. Myanmar's poor investment climate - including weak rule of law - hampers the inflow of foreign investment; in recent years, foreign investors have shied away from nearly every sector except for natural gas, power generation, timber, and mining.
The exploitation of natural resources does not benefit the population at large. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries - especially oil and gas, mining, and timber - with the latter two causing significant environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing, tourism, and services, struggle in the face of poor infrastructure,...