Since May 2017, the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) and International Growth Centre (IGC) have conducted research in Myanmar on the socio-economic conditions of hand pickers; freelance jade collectors who parse discarded soil and rocks from industrial mining. Many believe there are between 200,000-400,000 individuals working in the artisanal jade industry in Myanmar, with many self-employed as independent hand pickers. The research focuses on pickers who work shoulder to shoulder on the steep sides of towering loose rock formations. Landslides, malaria, and other hazards claim the lives of many pickers, however, individuals from all over Myanmar are driven by the allure of fortune to the hazardous occupation.
On 9 and 10 December, The Union of Myanmar Federations Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) held its second annual convention. Bringing together representatives of UMFCCI’s 30,000 members, the convention was a 2-day workshop filled with keynote speeches and discussions seeking to identify and synergize Myanmar’s business community’s efforts and goals. During the convention, the community established 2018’s national business agenda.
During the convention, CESD’s Chief of the Board of Directors, Dr. U Myint, presented a powerful keynote speech on the state of Myanmar’s economy, calling on the Myanmar government to focus on the economy alongside the peace process.
CESD has organized four workshops across Myanmar to solicit discussion and debate between stakeholders on the status of food and agriculture in Myanmar, especially food security, nutrition, land, and livelihoods. The workshops are part of an ongoing nation-wide dialogue on inadequacies and opportunities in Myanmar’s food and agriculture industry. The four workshops have served a multi-tiered role addressing policy shortcomings at the national and state levels, as well as coordinating public and private sector coordination to improve key agriculture sectors. (more…)
In September 2015, the Myanmar government for the first time in history set a minimum wage at 3,600 MMK ($3 at that time of exchange rate) a day, lowest in ASEAN but slightly higher than Bangladesh. A year and a half after implementation, robust discussions continue between unions, worker representatives, businesses, and the government about the impacts and possible changes in the minimum wage level. On November 4th, CESD was invited by the Ministry of Labor, Population, and Immigration to arbitrate a workshop between worker representatives and government and policy-making figures seeking updates from workers, open a policy dialogue, and support future changes to the minimum wage.