In November 2010 Myanmar began its transition to a more democratic system of government.  For the first time in decades the country held hope for the future.  This hope strengthened further as transition continued following the 2015 general election.  While not without the sort of challenges expected of a nascent democracy, Myanmar saw an influx of foreign investment and economic growth.  The country appeared to be emerging from over 50 years of self-imposed isolation.  The mood in the country was one of optimism.

Troubles for Myanmar’s embryonic democracy arose when the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) harshly cracked down on Rohingya ethnic Muslims in Rakhine State.  Hundreds of thousands were displaced into neighboring India and Bangladesh accompanied by countless acts of ruthless violence, human rights violations, and atrocities.  The cracks in Myanmar’s fledgling democracy had started and the world saw first-hand that the real power, protected by a biased constitution, lay fairly and squarely with the military.

Hope seemingly ended in February of 2021 when General Min Aung Hlaing initiated a coup d’état, seized the organs of government, and ordered the arrest of key officials in or associated with the National League for Democracy.  Overnight, 10 years of progress was erased and replaced with an oppressive military regime. 

The Western response to the coup d’état has been the reimposition of sanctions that specifically target key military officials, family members and military owned and controlled entities.  Investment in Myanmar, while already problematic, has since become extremely risky and many multinational investors are currently re-evaluating their economic activities in Myanmar. 

SEARCH remains uniquely positioned to provide accurate and timely Due Diligence services to foreign investors needing to navigate the current round of sanctions ensuring their local partner is not affiliated with sanctioned individuals or entities.  The risk of conducting business in Myanmar just became extreme.  Reliable due diligence can mitigate and flag potential compliance and reputation risks.