Originally published on Wouter Van Wersch’s LinkedIn. Wouter is the President and CEO of GE Asia Pacific.
Since my first trip to Myanmar in 2013, I’ve been fascinated by its history, culture, and drive to “open up” since modernization reforms were announced in 2011.
Nay Pyi Taw (NPT), Myanmar’s political capital, is a city I visit often, and I was there in recent days to attend a GE Foundation-funded capacity building program for public sector leaders. At the event, I spoke to a wide range of stakeholders about their development ambitions, and how GE can support them.
GE was one of the first multi-national companies to open an office in Yangon in May 2013. This first-mover play enabled GE to quickly build relationships with government agencies and key customers.
Business-wise, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), and our Healthcare, Power, and Oil and Gas businesses have made solid progress over the past five years, and here’s a snapshot on progress so far, and prospects for the future.
Opening-up the skies
National carrier, Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) has accelerated its development since it began working with GECAS in 2012, to expand and modernize its fleet. The relationship has steadily grown, and today, GECAS is a trusted partner to MNA. Having developed strong local routes, MNA is now looking at international opportunities for future growth.
Bridging the energy gap
With 5GW of installed capacity serving a population of 53 million, Myanmar is seriously under-served in energy generation and access (up to two-thirds of the population lacks access to reliable power).
Bridging this gap is an urgent need and as noted by the Union Minister of Electricity, “electricity is the engine of growth.” While Myanmar aims to install 10GW of new capacity by 2030 (gas to be 50-60% of the energy mix) – longer-term growth prospects are significant because the total pipeline for hydro alone is 40GW!
GE has made good progress in the gas sector, and near-term, there are opportunities for hydro, solar, and services – some coal projects are also being discussed.
Healthier, stronger nation
GE Healthcare has grown quickly, in-line with Myanmar’s drive to improve health facilities, service, and equipment. We recently celebrated our largest private hospital deal – signed in late 2017 – as the sole equipment supplier to a new hospital scheduled to open in Q3 this year.
New skills, new talents
GE believes building business goes hand-in-hand with developing capacity, and we have made a strong commitment to help improve skill levels throughout Myanmar.
Programs like the APAC Government Leadership Program, and the Global Customer Summit are designed to meet critical needs, and bring through the next generation of sector experts, and workers. Both initiatives have been well-received since their launch, attracting strong interest from our private and public-sector customers, and partners.
In the past few days, I was also excited, and proud, to participate in GE’s Leadership Training for the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) executives in Yangon. I also shared thoughts, and experiences, during the Executive Program on Leadership and Policy Development in NPT.
The feedback from participants was mind blowing, and humbling. These sessions, and other community building programs in healthcare, and the energy sector enable GE to enhance our localization efforts, and gain a better understanding about development opportunities on the ground.
These efforts also complement our business initiatives, and working in tandem, they have helped us to become a partner of choice for a number of customers – a notable achievement as we’ve only been on the ground for five years.
This response bodes well for the next five years, and I look forward to attending more milestone occasions in NPT, Yangon, and other major cities in the years ahead.