COVID-19 in the Transition Economies of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar: Response, Impact and Recovery


About the Webinar

The newest members of ASEAN, the transition economies of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (CLM), have had to deal with the pandemic with less fiscal resources, limited social safety nets and capacity-constrained healthcare systems. Although these constraints have clearly affected their ability to respond to the crisis, outcomes have varied across CLM, suggesting that country-specific factors need to be carefully considered. Each has also faced overlapping but different challenges on the economic and social fronts. Even before the pandemic, Cambodia had to deal with the removal of trade preferences, while Laos was struggling to manage rising debt levels. Myanmar had a coup in the middle of its second wave. Isolating the impact of the pandemic from these coincident developments is of course made more difficult by limitations on data.

Despite these challenges, this webinar will examine the response to the pandemic in the CLM countries, and try and assess its economic and social impact and prospects for recovery. Issues surrounding political stability and attendant effects on state capacity to respond to crises, and the role of China which has established a dominant presence in the Mekong region, will also be discussed.

About the Speakers

Roth Vathana is currently research fellow and director of the Centre for Development Economics and Trade at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI). His main research interests include: the nexus of economic growth, poverty and inequality, rural economic revitalization and financial inclusion, private sector development, and impact evaluation using microeconometric modelling. One of his current projects is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on inclusive development involving think thanks in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, funded by the International Development Research Centre, Canada. He holds a Master of Economics from Kobe University, Japan.

Phouphet Kyophilavong is Associate Professor and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Management, National University of Laos. He received his PhD in economics from Kobe University in 2003 and has been carrying out research on issues including SMEs, macroeconomic management, economic integration, energy, natural resources and poverty. He has directed numerous research projects and works closely with government agencies in Laos and international organizations. He has been a visiting scholar at Pukyong National University, Nagoya University, University of Laval, Kobe University, and Nanyang Technological University, as well as Fulbright U.S.-ASEAN Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He is editor in chief of the Lao Journal of Economics and Management.

Nilar Win is an Economist with over six years of experience working in Myanmar with various development organizations such as the World Bank and INGOs. In 2020, Nilar conducted the Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the Tourism Sector for the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Having worked in the development sector, Nilar takes holistic approach, ensuring that data is gender disaggregated and recognizing the nonconforming effects of economic turmoil on the most vulnerable. Nilar holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick and is pursuing an MSc in International Social and Public Policy at the LSE. For this Chapter, Nilar is working with two other colleagues with global and regional health sector research experience in communicable diseases, pandemic preparedness, and health security issues, based in Myanmar.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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Dec 03 2021


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm