December 16, 2014 – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved the loan of up to US$100 million (S$131 million) to Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings to aid in the improvement of infrastructure in Myanmar.
The ADB loan will meet the gap for long-term commercial debt for infrastructure designed to enhance connectivity, according to the joint ADB-Yoma press release. It will be disbursed in two tranches, with Yoma Strategic engaging partner companies to work with it on individual infrastructure sub-projects.
The first tranche will be used to build telecommunication towers, develop cold storage logistics, and modernise vehicle fleet leasing; the second will fund sub-projects in transportation, distribution, logistics and other sectors.
Mr Christopher Thieme, a Director in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department, said: “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.
“ADB is delighted to be supporting this important work with Yoma Strategic that will help acceleration of Myanmar’s growth.”
According to the press release, Myanmar is one of the least-connected countries in the world in terms of telecommunication, transportation and logistics. For instance, the road density in Myanmar is less than one fifth the average in ASEAN countries. The country’s inland waterways network, which is important for freight traffic, is also underutilised due to an ageing fleet of vessels and neglected ports facilities, it added.
Yoma in October announced it had clinched the franchise to open the first KFC fast food restaurant in Myanmar. It also has property, agriculture, tourism, automative and retail business in the country.