Overview of Australia’s aid program to Myanmar

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$78.0 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$42.1 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$66.4 million

Myanmar faces significant development challenges. Over a third of Myanmar's population are living in poverty, more than a third of children are chronically malnourished, and only 54 per cent of children complete five years of primary school. Decades of conflict and instability have resulted in a high number of people displaced in Myanmar. Government capacity is low, systems are weak, and Myanmar is one of the hardest places in the world to do business, although this is improving.

The Australian Government will provide an estimated $66.4 million in total ODA to Myanmar in 2017-18. This will include an estimated $42.1 million in bilateral funding to Myanmar managed by DFAT.

Our aid program is focused on supporting and entrenching Myanmar's reforms and is organised around three mutually-reinforcing objectives as outlined in the Aid Investment Plan.

Objective 1: Enhancing human development

Enhancing human development through education contributes directly to economic growth, stability and poverty reduction. Education transforms lives, builds a skilled and competitive workforce and enables men and women to invest wisely in their future.

Investments for enhancing human development

Objective 2: Promoting peace and stability

Peace and stability are necessary to achieve inclusive and equitable growth in Myanmar. Australia provides support to peace negotiations, political dialogue, democratic reform processes, including elections, and development activities that provide new opportunities for people affected by conflict.

Promoting human rights will be fundamental to building an inclusive state that values ethnic and religious diversity and protects the rights of all groups. We are supporting Myanmar to become a party to international human rights treaties and implement international human rights norms.

Australia continues to provide humanitarian assistance, including in Rakhine State and on the Thai-Myanmar border. This includes supporting people to return to Myanmar when appropriate, and addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement.

Investments for promoting peace and stability

Objective 3: Promoting inclusive economic growth and government management

Myanmar's economy has been stunted by decades of authoritarianism, international sanctions and civil war. Per capita GDP (PPP) is the second lowest in South-East Asia.

Australia promotes economic growth in Myanmar by supporting a policy environment that provides incentives for responsible foreign direct investment, trade and economic reform. We will increase investments in aid-for-trade, support legal and regulatory reform and broker engagement between government and the private sector, to promote private sector-led growth, entrepreneurship and responsible business. Australia will also provide targeted support to improve the management of natural resources.

Investments for promoting inclusive economic growth and government management

Our results

  • In 2015-16, support through the school grants and stipends program helped over 120,000 additional disadvantaged girls and boys enrol in school and promoted free and compulsory education across 43,000 schools with a total of 9.3 million students.
  • In 2015-16, Australia's support helped train over 12,000 teachers and over 1,000 early childhood caregivers in remote schools, benefiting about 224,000 children.
  • In 2016, 108 new Australia Awards were granted to Myanmar applicants.
  • In 2015-16, Australia provided life-saving assistance to 372,000 vulnerable women, men, girls and boys in conflicted-affected communities, including in Rakine State and on the Thai-Myanmar border.
  • In 2015, Australia supported more inclusive elections, including disability inclusive polling at 18 locations, voter education material in 16 languages, over 700 women trained in leadership, and election information available via a phone app that received 12 million hits. 
  • In 2015-16, rice farmers assisted to improve practices experienced a 14 per cent increase to productivity and seed banks were established in 112 villages.
  • In 2015-16, Australia's support for the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund helped increase incomes for 26,180 Myanmar households.
  • In 2015-16, Australia assisted the Myanmar Government to promote economic growth by supporting improved and more transparent financial planning and budget processes and significant tax reforms.

Last Updated: 22 September 2017
Students at the Karen Young Women Leadership School reading the news (credit: Angela Wylie/The Age, International Women's Development Agency).
Ploughing fields, Shan, Myanmar (credit: DFAT).
A senior midwife attends to her malaria and primary health patients by motorbike (credit: 3DFund.org).