China provides $6.7m for 22 projects in Myanmar

Officials from China and Myanmar signing documents for the latest phase of the Mekong-Lancang cooperation initiative in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday. Photo – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


China will provide US$6.78million (K9.45 billion) to Myanmar for 22 projects under the Mekong-Lancang cooperation initiative, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday.

The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Special Fund is a cooperation mechanism set up by China that involves Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam with the aim of promoting cooperation in the areas of political, security, and economic and social development.

The signing ceremony for 22 projects under 10 ministries in Myanmar was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 23, 2020. The projects cover sectors such as agriculture, water resources, education, society and culture, research, information and technology, rule of law, human resource and investment, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its announcement.

The Mekong-Lancang initiative, established in 2016, aims to reduce the development gap and promote sustainable development in the Mekong region and was first proposed by Chinese Prime Minister Mr Li Keqiang at the ASEAN-China Summit held in Myanmar in 2014. Myanmar received US$2.4million for 10 projects from the Mekong-Lancang Special Fund 2017 and US$7.2million for 19 projects from Mekong-Lancang Special Fund 2018.

Of the latest tranche of funding, about US$5 million will be spent on 12 projects related to agriculture, farming, and rural development. The departments under the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation will use the funds to improve connectivity, production capacity cooperation, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, agriculture, and poverty reduction.

While the early focus of the initiative was on agriculture, it was later expanded to cover education, culture and health in the Mekong region.

The Mekong-Lanchan Cooperation Programme involves the People’s Republic of China and five countries of the Mekong region – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, and aims to bring about cooperation in political, security, economic, and social development issues in the member countries. China initially put in US$400 million for the implementation of the development projects, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is currently acting as the focal point of the initiative in Myanmar. – Translated
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