BIF has been operating in Myanmar since September 2013, supporting and catalysing the adoption, adaption and expansion of commercially sustainable innovations in selected markets. BIF supports market players to develop new ways of working to increase market access by the poor as producers, processors or consumers. BIF Myanmar is currently working in the garment and tourism markets and is planning to add new markets to its portfolio in the coming months.
Myanmar’s tourism potential is huge. The development of the tourism industry is set to create thousands of jobs and increase the incomes of many poor people in Myanmar.
BIF's market system analysis found that tourism could lead to further inclusive economic growth if tourists were offered a greater choice of products that could also benefit low-income communities and people. To address this constraint, BIF has just completed a series of private sector training programmes on tourism product development and innovation, and has launched an exciting initiative, the Product and Package Innovation Competition (PPIC). The competition aims to stimulate the competitiveness of the tourism industry by supporting business ideas that will contribute to a wider market system change.
The BIF tourism market strategy has identified a number of other intervention areas, including:
- addressing the gap in the provision of tour guide training
- improving information flow and marketing in the sector, and
- addressing the lack of accommodation in remote rural locations.
Myanmar is the next large-scale sourcing destination for international clothing brands. The sector has recently become one of the largest export markets for Myanmar and is a significant source of employment for many people, especially women. However, to be sustainable and inclusive, this opportunity has to harness the productivity potential of workers. BIF's market system analysis found that the business case to link productivity, human resource management and workers’ welfare was still to be established in Myanmar.
As such, BIF is currently working with factories to improve productivity and human resource management systems and to evaluate the impact of the training to establish the link between productivity and worker welfare.
In addition, BIF has engaged with a number of international brands, manufacturers, and the government to enhance policy dialogue and inform strategy for the garment sector in Myanmar. To date BIF has organised and facilitated four international-Myanmar Garment Seminars in Hong Kong and Yangon.
BIF Myanmar is about to begin work in the bamboo market - more details of our work in this area will be added shortly.