Myanmar’s Economy: Progress, Challenges and Prospects



About the Lecture

Despite numbering amongst the fastest growing economies in the region (and accordingly the world), perceptions and much commentary of Myanmar’s economy in recent times has been unrelentingly negative. Coloured by the conflicts and abuses taking place in Rakhine, Kachin State and elsewhere, international focus on Myanmar has understandably also been mainly concerned with political, rather than economic matters. Yet, underneath, reform and progress has been taking place in Myanmar’s economy, along with the ever-present headwinds and challenges.

The seminar will detail these reforms, the resistance they have inspired, the victories they have achieved, and the obstacles and challenges that remain. Emphasis will be placed on very recent developments, and the reasons for optimism for Myanmar’s economic potential, and the opportunities yet for genuinely transformational growth and development.

About the Speaker

Sean Turnell is currently Special Economic Consultant to the State Counsellor, Government of Myanmar, and has been a researcher of Myanmar’s economy for over twenty-five years. Formerly at the Reserve Bank of Australia and a Professor at Macquarie University in Sydney, Sean has written widely on Myanmar’s economy. In addition to the Myanmar government, he has been an advisor on Myanmar to the US State Department and other agencies, to USAID, to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to the World Bank, and many other international bodies.

In 2009 the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies published Sean’s book on the history of the financial sector in Myanmar, Fiery Dragons: Banks, Moneylenders and Microfinance in Burma. Sean has been a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. In addition to his advisory role, he is also currently the Director of Research at the Myanmar Development Institute (MDI) in Naypyitaw.

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 24 May 2018.


May 25 2018


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2