South East Asia
The finding of a report released on Thursday that the rise in foreign investment in Myanmar's ethnic regions risks exacerbating conflicts and environmental destruction should come as a surprise to no one.
A report released by the Dutch think-tank, the Transnational Institute, expressed concern at the prospect of massive development projects in conflict-ridden parts of Burma.
The report “Developing Disparity: regional investment in Burma’s borderlands,” by the Transnational Institute and the Burma Centre Netherlands, said Burma’s reforms are helping to rapidly integrate it with the burgeoning regional economy and the country’s ethnic areas are likely targets for foreign businesses.
Burma has entered a pivotal stage in its political and economic development. The advent of a new quasi-civilian government has raised the prospect of fundamental reforms.
Unless foreign direct investment in Burma's war-torn borderlands is refocused towards people-centered development, it is likely to deepen disparity between the region’s most neglected peoples and Burma's new military, business and political elite and exacerbate a decades-long civil war.
Alternative development and crop substitution programmes seem to be a guise for the Chinese government to support large scale agro businesses in Northern Burma and Laos.