After decades of internet oppression in Myanmar, today we see drastic improvement. The future of Myanmar is yet to see more developments as three competitive mobile service providers are eager to expand business.
Last month a group of technologists and development experts convened in Yangon at a workshop to discuss the roles and impacts of ICT and development on the people of Myanmar, the government and the civil society. The discussion was based on three topics:
1. The impacts of ICT and development on social and cultural practices of the Burmese.
2. Myanmar expectations on ICT and development.
3. Advantages and disadvantages of ICT and development.
Although this group of experts was not able to agree on many points touching on the above topics, they were able to conclude that by 2018, Myanmar will experience a great digital revolution on three fronts.
1. Technology ambiguity
Considering Myanmar has less than four years until 2018, expectations are that by then every household will be having an access to a mobile device. The Burmese are therefore expected to have some level of technological literacy to be able to access internet without any difficulties.
Network coverage will stretch enough to cover both urban and rural areas of Myanmar. This will be achieved through wireless connections as opposed to wired, therefore lowered costs and efficient internet access.
The citizens, civil society and the government of Myanmar will be able to interact on social media platforms, with special emphasis on Facebook. The urban Myanmar is also expected to accept and embrace mobile money where most business transactions are deemed to take place, as the rural catches on gradually.
eGovernment will be available to all citizens of Myanmar through mobile devices. This service will also enable the government to get real-time data flow from the citizens on critical issues such as health and education. This will enable the government to make structured and strategic decisions.
Burmese elected officials will be able to interact with citizens and are expected to enhance campaigns through social media platforms. This will also enable the citizens of Myanmar to keep a close eye on government progress and other development expectations.
3. Private Sector
The private sector is expected to thrive as about 60 million people will be going online, where most business activities will be carried out. The Burmese will be after an easy and more efficient way of doing business as there will be an increased competition amongst sellers.
Typically, some shortcomings are also expected. Currently, Myanmar is in a continuous debate on the cultural and legal norms of online communication. Ethical and religious tension is expected through social media which will be in form of hate speech and such. Other than that, analog based enterprises across Myanmar will have to make major adjustments to be able to keep up.
The experts agreed that in order for this transformation to be successful, the Myanmar people are expected to cooperate in that, they must be willing and ready to embrace the changes that will come along.
This means that Myanmar and the region now exhibits even more potential for digital services outsourcing and impact sourcing. In particular, we’re curious to see how individuals embrace online contracting platforms like Elance to take matters into their own hands. With a health ecosystem of independent contractors and emerging outsourcing brands, the region can see positive social impact through job creation.