Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Burma


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Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and subsequently transferred to house arrest. After Burma's ruling junta in August 2007 unexpectedly increased fuel prices, tens of thousands of Burmese marched in protest, led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks. In late September 2007, the government brutally suppressed the protests, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. Since then, the regime has continued to raid homes and monasteries and arrest persons suspected of participating in the pro-democracy protests. The junta appointed Labor Minister AUNG KYI in October 2007 as liaison to AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who remains under house arrest and virtually incommunicado with her party and supporters. (from the CIA)
 
 

 

Economic Overview

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. the junta took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "burmese way to socialism," but those efforts stalled, and some of the liberalization measures were rescinded. despite burma's increasing oil and gas revenue, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated due to the regime's mismanagement of the economy. lacking monetary or fiscal stability, the economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including rising inflation, fiscal deficits, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the burmese kyat, a distorted interest rate regime, unreliable statistics, and an inability to reconcile national accounts to determine a realistic gdp figure. most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently refused to honor the results of the 1990 legislative elections. in response to the government of burma's attack in may 2003 on aung san suu kyi and her convoy, the us imposed new economic sanctions in august 2003 including a ban on imports of burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by us persons. further, a poor investment climate hampers attracting outside investment slowing the inflow of foreign exchange. the most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries, especially oil and gas, mining, and timber with the latter especially causing environmental degradation. other areas, such as manufacturing and services, are struggling with inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable import/export policies, deteriorating health and education systems, and endemic corruption. a major banking crisis in 2003 shuttered the country's 20 private banks and disrupted the economy. as of 2007, the largest private banks operated under tight restrictions limiting the private sector's access to formal credit. moreover, the september 2007 crackdown on prodemocracy demonstrators, including thousands of monks, further strained the economy as the tourism industry, which directly employs about 500,000 people, suffered dramatic declines in foreign visitor levels. in november 2007, the european union announced new sanctions banning investment and trade in burmese gems, timber and precious stones, while the united states expanded its sanctions list to include more burmese government and military officials and their family members, as well as prominent regime business cronies, their family members, and associated companies. official statistics are inaccurate. published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade - often estimated to be as large as the official economy. though the burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote serious foreign investment, exports, and tourism.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Government Type

Military junta

Population

47,758,180 note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to aids; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (july 2008 est.)

Location

Southeastern asia, bordering the andaman sea and the bay of bengal, between bangladesh and thailand

Area

Total: 678,500 sq km land: 657,740 sq km water: 20,760 sq km

Slightly smaller than texas

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: union of burma conventional short form: burma local long form: pyidaungzu myanma naingngandaw (translated by the us government as union of myanma and by the burmese as union of myanmar) local short form: myanma naingngandaw former: socialist republic of the union of burma note: since 1989 the military authorities in burma have promoted the name myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in burma, and the us government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the burmese short-form name myanma naingngandaw

Capital

Name: rangoon (yangon) geographic coordinates: 16 48 n, 96 09 e time difference: utc+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) note: nay pyi taw is administrative capital

Military Service

18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes; forced conscription of children, although officially prohibited, reportedly continues (2007)

International Disputes

Over half of burma's population consists of diverse ethnic groups who have substantial numbers of kin in neighboring countries; thailand must deal with karen and other ethnic refugees, asylum seekers, and rebels, as well as illegal cross-border activities from burma; thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the hatgyi dam on the salween river near the border with burma; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, china is reconsidering construction of 13 dams on the salween river but energy-starved burma with backing from thailand remains intent on building five hydro-electric dams downstream, despite identical regional and international protests; india seeks cooperation from burma to keep indian nagaland separatists, such as the united liberation front of assam, from hiding in remote burmese uplands; after 21 years, bangladesh resumes talks with burma on delimiting a maritime boundary in january 2008

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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