A new wave of political reforms have set Myanmar on a road to unprecedented economic expansion, but without targeted policy efforts and regulation to level the playing field, the benefits of new investment will filter down to only a few, leaving small-scale farmers – the backbone of the Myanmar economy – unable to benefit from this growth. On the eve of the East Asia World Economic Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar’s political capital, decision makers in Myanmar face a choice: the path to growth for all, or the path to growth for the few. If Myanmar is to meet its ambitions on equitable growth, political leaders must put new policies and regulation to generate equitable growth at the heart of their democratic reform agenda. Along with democratic reforms, and action to end human-rights abuses, these policies must address power inequalities in the markets, put small-scale farmers at the centre of new agricultural investments, and close loopholes in law and practice that leave the poorest open to land-rights abuses.
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