Managerial Challenges of Infrastructure Development Projects in the New Myanmar

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The full text of the paper I gave at the Penang conference (3rd ICM, 2013) has been published online (http://www.internationalconference.com.my/proceeding/3rdICM_proceeding/048_080_3rdICM2013_Proceeding_p659.pdf).

I will take this opportunity of posting the abstract again:

Abstract

As Myanmar has entered the international realm through embracing its own form of democracy, the country has almost immediately become one of the most powerful magnets for inward investment in all of Asia. The numerous mineral resources, the apparently compliant, low-wage labour force with English language ability and the strategic location between India and China all make siren calls to the world’s investors and many have taken early positions in important and newly-opened industries. Prominent among these opportunities are those related to infrastructure: roads, ports, energy transmission systems and special economic zones are all vital areas for developing the country’s domestic markets and resources and, for what will be more important to a number of potential and actual investors, creating the linkages that will enable them to extract resources and products from the country to international markets where profits will be superior. Many foreign investors have, therefore, found themselves active in joint ventures with local partners and other arrangements as part of the effort to create the desired infrastructure projects. Yet these partnerships have in many cases been fraught with managerial peril: mercurial local partners, uncertain legal norms, the need to negotiate the removal of villagers from the path of new projects and political machinations have all been problematic. This paper explores a variety of case studies of infrastructure development in Myanmar with a view to intensifying the different managerial challenges that have been encountered and aims to indicate the ways these challenges might be tackled.

Keywords: infrastructure, management, Myanmar, special economic zones

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