Infrastructure in Myanmar has been neglected for years because of the country’s political and economic isolation. However, the recent political and economic changes in Myanmar are creating a climate conducive to foreign investment. The government hopes to harness this enthusiasm and attract foreign direct investment in large public works and infrastructure through public-private partnerships (PPP), the most popular forms being build-operate-transfer and design-build-maintain-operate-and-transfers. Tetra Tech’s PPP division, IP3, was retained by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to conduct a three-day PPP training workshop in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.

Currently Myanmar lacks a credible PPP program: PPP law at the national or local level, tangible legislation that would protect private sector partners from political intervention, coordinated PPP national strategy, and a clear process for the approval of PPP projects for inclusion in a PPP-prioritized pipeline. In addition, there is almost no institutional capacity in the more than 30 ministries that exist in Myanmar.

The workshop was held to improve 30 government leaders’ understanding about using PPPs for infrastructure projects. The workshop was the first introduction to PPPs for most participants. The comprehensive program included theoretical instruction, discussion of practical examples, and breakout sessions designed to engage participants in discussions related to the course content.

The participants expressed that they learned a lot and were extremely satisfied with the outcome of the training. They realized that a PPP–enabling environment needs to be created in Myanmar, and much work is needed before the country is ready to implement PPPs. Any positive signal that the future elected government sends out that it is committed to economic and political reforms conducive to creating a PPP–enabling climate will bode well.

The participants expressed excitement for infrastructure PPPs, especially for water projects in the Irrawaddy River Delta and its upstream navigation channels and irrigation and dam projects. Reform initiatives that were discussed included creating an enabling environment; drafting of a PPP law and national PPP strategy; establishing PPP units at state and institutional level; promoting institutional capacity building in all ministries; educating political leadership about the intricacies of PPPs; creating PPP regulatory bodies; and creating national best practices.

Tetra Tech distributed certificates of completion to the 30 workshop attendees, and participants received continuing education unit credits for completing the workshop. In addition, all workshop participants received electronic copies of the course materials for future reference.