By the Numbers: Taking Stock of Myanmar’s Reform Process

The data driving Asia

Myanmar’s government launched sweeping political and economic reforms in 2011. Together with domestic changes, Naypyidaw has raised its international profile, having hosted the 27th Southeast Asian Games and acting as the current ASEAN chair. With President Thein Sein’s current term in office drawing to a close in 2015, we look back at Myanmar’s recent achievements and ongoing challenges, by the numbers:


The percentage of respondents surveyed by the International Republican Institute (IRI) who feel the national government is doing a good or very good job. Eighty-six percent of people surveyed feel democracy is not without flaws but is still better than any other form of government.

Monks in Yangon, Myanmar examine a cell phone. Source: NgoPhotographyPLZ's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

Monks in Yangon, Myanmar examine a cell phone. Source: NgoPhotographyPLZ’s flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.


The percentage of the population with access to mobile phones, according to 2013 government data. Qatar’s telecommunications firm Ooredoo and Norway-based Telenor hope to cover 80 percent of Myanmar’s population by 2015 after winning a tender to build a nationwide network.


The number of years in prison to which a journalist was sentenced for trespassing on government property in an attempt to interview officials. His sentence followed the detention of four other journalists for publishing a report on an alleged chemical weapons factory run by the military.

2 million

The number of tourists who visited Myanmar in 2013, an estimated 83 percent increase from 2010. Official statistics show Myanmar only had 923 licensed hotels at the end of January, meaning it will have trouble accommodating the 7.5 million tourists, and $10 billion in tourism revenue, the government hopes to attract annually by 2020.

$2.7 billion

The total amount of foreign direct investment Myanmar received in the 2012-13 period. While foreign investment from Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN countries has poured in, Chinese investment has dropped by more than 10 percent over the last year.


The number of political prisoners still behind bars as of May, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. President Thein Sein has declared at least a dozen prisoner amnesties since taking power in 2011, but failed to fulfill his promise to rid the country of all remaining prisoners of conscience by the end of 2013.


2 comments for “By the Numbers: Taking Stock of Myanmar’s Reform Process

  1. TR Lansner
    June 24, 2014 at 07:43

    A BIG MISS in these numbers: Can you please tell us the number of Rohingya people killed, displaced internally, or made refugees? How many other Muslims have been killed in recent attacks? And can you please advise on numbers regarding other displaced/refugee minorities in ongoing conflicts along Burma’s frontiers?

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