The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will loan $100 million to Yoma Strategic Holdings (YSH) so that they may issue loans to improve infrastructure connectivity.
“Investment in connectivity infrastructure is a key factor in creating better access to economic opportunities, reducing costs, promoting trade, and attracting private investment into diverse geographic areas and sectors,” said Christopher Thieme, director of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
Despite a huge influx of investment in recent years, Myanmar’s connectivity infrastructure remains very underdeveloped. According to the ADB, the road density in Myanmar is less than one fifth of the average in ASEAN countries.
The country’s inland waterways network, which is important for freight traffic, is also under-utilised due to an ageing fleet of vessels and neglected ports facilities.
Investment in Myanmar has been focused on escorts with quick returns, such as oil, gas, minerals and light manufacturing. This loan is intended to bring investment back into balance with connectivity and infrastructure projects.
The loan will be distributed in two steps; first to build telecommunication towers, develop cold storage logistics, and modernise vehicle fleet leasing, followed by a second will fund subprojects in transportation, distribution, logistics and other sectors.
Serge Pun, executive chairman of Yoma Strategic, said, “ADB’s loan will help support our goal of improving the country’s connectivity, which in turn will strengthen local markets, boost productivity and create jobs.”
Yoma Strategic has lately been the darling of the international investment community, having also received a loan from the IFC in September to provide loans to SMEs. It runs property, tourism, automotive, and retail businesses in Myanmar and is listed on the Singapore stock exchange. It is currently capitalised at $692 million, and Serge Pun owns 37 percent of shares.