Op-ed: Myanmar can avoid resource curse

Myanmar is blessed with sizeable endowments of mining minerals, ranging from tin and copper to gemstones such as rubies and sapphires. It also has a substantial amount of oil and gas reserves, relative to its size, and recent discoveries of offshore gas deposits have intensified investor interest to develop untapped resources.

Such an abundance of natural resources can be both a blessing and a curse for a country. In Myanmar, there is much debate over the economic, social, and environmental effects of extractive industries. Landslides and flooding as well as land expropriation and environmental damage have perpetuated negative ideas about mining.

What are the implications of resource riches for broader socio-economic progress in a mining-dependent country like Myanmar? New research by AlphaBeta, commissioned by the International Council of Mining and Metals, analyses this question.

The report, “Social Progress in Mining-Dependent Countries,” examines how countries with a sustained history of mineral dependence have fared across a broad set of socio-economic indicators linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the past 20 years.

Its main finding: being endowed with natural resources is not inevitably a curse.

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