Myanmar doubles down on Belt and Road project

The Yangon skyline at sunset. Luca Fecarotta/Shutterstock

The Myanmar government has renewed its commitment to developing a controversial Belt and Road project, The Irrawaddy reported.

New Yangon City will develop a 20,000-acre (8,000 hectares) parcel across the Yangon River into a modern urban hub with the help of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

The government-run New Yangon Development Company (NYDC) had signed a framework agreement with the Hong Kong-listed company last year for the USD1.5-billion initial phase of the project, which includes a 10-square-kilometre industrial estate.

Although CCCC has been embroiled in contentious projects abroad, NYDC officials reiterated the Chinese firm’s breadth of experience and capabilities, having spearheaded such major infrastructure projects as the Hong Kong-Macau bridge and the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway.

“NYDC has chosen CCCC to sign a framework agreement because the company was considered to be the most qualified,” Daw Myat Hsu Hlaing, NYDC’s development and communication associate, told The Irrawaddy.

Formed by the Yangon regional government in March, the NYDC signed the contract with CCCC the month thereafter, without a prior call for tender.

“CCC shareholders include multiple international institutional investors. CCCC comes with financial clout,” NYDC CEO Serge Pun said in a statement.

“Why would we not want to work with one of the largest and more experienced companies in the global infrastructure industry space?”