Burma doesn’t need to switch to renewables because it has the chanceto get everything right from the start. Only 26 percent of the country’s population has electricity – or to put it another way, 45,000 villages are still waiting for power. Electrification is urgently needed, and the topic is firmly on the political agenda. Burma now has a unique opportunity to bypass old technologies and set up decentralised and sustainable infrastructure.
Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, spent decades in the dark – literally, politically and economically. The military dictatorship in power since 1962 isolated the country for almost 50 years and ran the economy into the ground. In addition, wide-ranging sanctions imposed by the West in response to human rights abuses put a stop to almost all trade and foreign investment.
When industrialisation reached Asia, with Burma’s large neighbouring states of India and China enjoying a spectacular boom and developing countries turning into “tiger nations”, nothing happened in Burma.
This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 02/2014.
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