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Myanmar – 100 percent foreign ownership now permitted for projects in the education sector.
30 Apr

Myanmar – 100 percent foreign ownership now permitted for projects in the education sector.

Overseas investors can now create a 100% holding company to finance a new enterprise for the education sector in Myanmar. A recent Notification from The Myanmar Investment Commission, MIC, has opened another door for investors seeking more opportunities in Myanmar. (April 20 2018, Notification 7/2018).

Forecasts rank the education sector as the top investment opportunity in Myanmar.

For many commercial sectors permission is only granted for foreign investment when a blend of national and foreign investors is proposed and this is also subject to various conditions. But now and importantly for education, the new Notification states: –

“A private school [may be] established by full capital investment of foreigners, a foreign organization, foreign organizations or a foreign government organization”.

The school must comply with the Myanmar Investment Law and Rules and Notifications issued by the Myanmar Investment Commission and National Education Law, 2014.

The definition by the MIC for a private school is one that is not operated by the state. A private school may be a hundred percent owned by Myanmar citizen(s) or companies; or alternatively a private school created as a joint venture between a Myanmar entity and a foreign entity (a JV); or a private school owned one hundred percent by an overseas entity.

Opportunities in the Myanmar education sector have been noted before. For example, in the autumn of 2012 President Obama visited Myanmar and in February 2013 the largest ever delegation of U.S universities visited to promote the theme “Investing in the Future: Rebuilding Higher Education in Myanmar”.

Last August, Myanmar Strategic Holdings (MSH) announced that they were on course to list on the main market of the London Stock Exchange and raise $4 million for a tourist hostel and English language training school in Myanmar. MSH now confirm they have a portfolio of consumer-focused businesses in Myanmar, with 100 per cent ownership, such as Ostello Bello (accommodation) and Wall Street English and further branches are planned.

The Auston Institute of Management, a higher education college have announced a joint venture with MSH for a new private school in Yangon. Auston is an operator of private schools in Singapore and Sri Lanka preparing students for careers in engineering, information technology and project management.

Levels of funding have been rising and forecasts show even faster growth is expected.

Referring to the Notification, the types of schools listed are in summary as follows:-

Private basic education school.
Private technical, vocational and training school.
Private higher education school.
Private subject based school.
Private school designated by The Ministry.

Some of the key education requirements reported in research findings after the visit from US universities include:-

English language training for teachers.
Sharing of best teaching practices.
Training and curriculum development for law, international relations, public administration.
Teaching methodologies.

Permission for full capital investment by foreigners will be welcomed by both investors and students. Records have shown a steady movement of students overseas in the past, seeking a wider choice for their education. The options for them will get better in Myanmar as more colleges open. The demand is there, leading to forecasters placing the education sector as the best sector for investment in Myanmar.

Figures from UNICEF indicate the size of the opportunity:-

Public spending as a % of GDP (2008-2010) allocated to education 2012 for under 18 year old students was 0.8%.

Myanmar population (thousands) in 2012 was total: 52797

The population aged 10-19, as a proportion of the total population was in 2012: 17.6%

Publications in Myanmar have reported rapid growth in the number of new schools. As the economy grows people seek better education for their children, and private schools are seen as the better option. For professional training, the increased foreign investment and growth of commercial enterprises is fuelling the demand for management and skills training.
Overall growth was indicated in our forecasts within FocusCore that led us to open here in 2014. We have a growing corporate client list with firms now trading in Myanmar, for whom we provide guidance and corporate services having obtained the required permits and visas.

In July 2017, FocusCore was chosen to obtain licences and Government approvals for the first foreign charitable school in Myanmar to achieve NGO status.

Whether your sector is education or commerce, contact FocusCore to receive details of our corporate support services that can be tailored to your company, school or college.

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