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IFC and the UMFCCI Join Forces to Promote Corporate Governance in Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar, February 3, 2016 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) signed a cooperation agreement today to improve corporate governance practices among Myanmar companies to raise their competitiveness.
The signing ceremony was part of the first corporate governance forum organized by IFC and the UMFCCI. Around 400 government and business representatives attended the half-day forum in Yangon today to discuss corporate governance challenges and opportunities faced by Myanmar; they also shared the latest trends and global best practices.
“It is time to push the agenda for sound corporate governance to ensure the sustainable development of Myanmar’s emerging private sector and new stock market,” said Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Maung Maung Thein. “Better corporate governance will help build trust among market stakeholders – a prerequisite to tapping new sources of capital, which is crucial to fuel companies’ growth and expansion over the long-term. The cooperation between IFC and the UMFCCI is a key milestone in improving corporate governance standards and practices in Myanmar. We look forward to seeing good corporate governance flourish in Myanmar.”
IFC will be helping Myanmar companies struggling with underdeveloped boards of directors, ill-defined director duties, poor transparency, rudimentary control frameworks, and inadequate shareholder practices. Many of these issues stem partly from the absence of a robust legal and regulatory framework that includes basic governance provisions and investor protections.
“Improving corporate governance is crucial for Myanmar as the country further opens up its economy and tries to build a robust and sustainable private sector,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC’s East Asia Pacific Director. “Companies with better governance are less likely to suffer from mismanagement and they usually generate better returns for shareholders. They are therefore more attractive to investors and will find it easier to draw in capital for their growth.”
In addition to hosting the forum, IFC will provide workshops to help the UMFCCI – a national-level nongovernmental organization representing the interests of Myanmar’s private sector – develop and deliver corporate governance training programs for companies. IFC will also train university lecturers to teach corporate governance courses to MBA students in the country. IFC and the UMFCCI will jointly organize public conferences and develop relevant materials to further raise market awareness of corporate governance.
“The UMFCCI will work closely with IFC in providing corporate governance training to Myanmar companies and institutions to improve economic development and the investment climate,” said U Tint Swai, Chief Executive Officer of the UMFCCI. “Myanmar companies and the economy in general will benefit from improving governance, transparency, and risk management.”
The Myanmar government is taking steps to strengthen the country’s regulatory framework by implementing the Banks and Financial Institutions Law and updating the Companies Act. These legislations aim to improve risk governance in banks, clearly define director duties, and strengthen shareholder protection.
IFC’s Corporate Governance Program in Myanmar is implemented in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the U.K. Department for International Development.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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About the UMFCCI
The UMFCCI is a national-level non-governmental organization representing and safeguarding the interests of the private business sector. The UMFCCI was founded in 1919 under the name of the Burmese Chamber of Commerce, and upgraded as a federation in 1999 in line with the adoption of the market-oriented economic policy. The UMFCCI comprises 16 Regional and State Chambers of Commerce and Industry, 9 Border Trade Associations, 47 Affiliated Associations and about 30,000 members. The UMFCCI supports the business communities by sharing knowledge, expertise and opportunities. We provide services such as human resource development training, trade information, business facilitation, business matching and consultancy services, trade fairs, seminars, workshops, forum and study tours. Our federation acts as a bridge between the State and the private sector. We participate in the Government’s working committees, meeting, workshop, forum, seminars and presents business interests and views to the Government. For further information please visit: