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‘Creating triple wins’: inclusive business in Myanmar

They can create new income opportunities for the poor by engaging them in the value chains of profitable businesses while paying better than market rates. They can also provide goods and services to the poor that address key needs in areas such as health, education, housing, finance, water and sanitation. Inclusive businesses are typically profitable and innovative companies that consciously address issues which benefit the poor.

A recent report about inclusive business in Myanmar has been published by the DaNa Facility and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), supported by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) and the Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection (DISI). The report offers an opportunity for businesses, investors, NGOs and the government to examine the transformational potential of inclusive business and starts to map a way forward to a more inclusive and sustainable business environment in Myanmar.

Inclusive businesses create triple wins: for the poor, for companies, and for government. They also contribute to the government’s agendas of reducing poverty, making a more inclusive economy, and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

While investment in inclusive businesses is driven by the private sector, the government and other actors can promote such investments. The study analyses the enabling environment for inclusive businesses in Myanmar and found strong interest to promote them through business associations, impact investors, and development partners.

The study makes recommendations on how the concept can be further promoted in Myanmar through partnerships between government and the private sector. The recommendations include setting up an inclusive business steering group, promoting knowledge and advocacy work, including awards for inclusive businesses by business associations, creating an inclusive business technical support facility, and supporting the establishment of an inclusive business and impact investment fund.

Of particular relevance to DICA, the study also recommends that the government establish an inclusive business certification system, set up a support desk and focal points in various government agencies, prioritise inclusive businesses as well as social enterprises in public procurement and prepare specific policies and incentives for inclusive businesses.

In meetings between March and May 2018, the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and the government’s Private Sector Development Committee working committees generally endorsed the recommendations and assigned DICA to work to coordinate implementation of a strategic framework for inclusive business.

We are grateful to the DaNa Facility and DFID for their preparation of this first market scoping study on inclusive business in Myanmar. We hope that development partners can commit further support to promote inclusive businesses.

SOURCE: MYANMAR TIMES

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