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Countries > Myanmar (Burma) Myanmar (Burma) Flag

Languages   9 languages are spoken in Myanmar (Burma). We have 26 products available for 6 of those languages.

Capital: Yangon (Rangoon)
Population: 47,000,000
Description: Burmese is spoken by about two-thirds of the population. Two other important languages are Karen, with about 2౵ million speakers in the south, and Shan, with about 2½ million speakers in the north. Chin (500,000) is spoken in the Chin Hills, bordering southern Assam, India, while Kachin, or Chingpaw (500,000) is spoken in the extreme north. Other languages include Palaung (350,000), of the area to the north of Mandalay, and Wa, or Kawa (50,000), spoken along the Salween River as it enters Burma from China.


Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Geographic coordinates: 22 00 N, 98 00 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

total : 678,500 sq km
land: 657,740 sq km
water: 20,760 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 5,876 km
border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline: 1,930 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone : 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures,lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain: central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m
highest point : Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas

Land use:
arable land : 15%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 49%
other: 34% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 15,920 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Environment - current issues: deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes


Population: 42,238,224 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years:28.6% (male 6,158,039; female 5,905,314)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 13,976,047; female 14,162,467)
65 years and over : 4.8% (male 905,476; female 1,130,881) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.56% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 19.65 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 12.25 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:-1.83 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 72.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:55.41 years
male:53.85 years
female: 57.07 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.23 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese

Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%

Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%

Languages: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.1%
male: 88.7%
female: 77.7% (1995 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Union of Burma
conventional short form: Burma
local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar)
local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma

Data code: BM

Government type: military regime

National capital: Rangoon (regime refers to the capital as Yangon)

Administrative divisions: 7 divisions* (yin-mya, singular - yin) and 7 states (pyine-mya, singular - pyine); Chin State, Ayeyarwady*, Bago*, Kachin State, Kayin State, Kayah State, Magway*, Mandalay*, Mon State, Rakhine State, Sagaing*, Shan State, Tanintharyi*, Yangon*

Independence: 4 January 1948 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 January (1948)

Constitution: 3 January 1974 (suspended since 18 September 1988); national convention started on 9 January 1993 to draft a new constitution; chapter headings and three of 15 sections have been approved

Legal system: does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note - the prime minister is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government : Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note - the prime minister is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); military junta, so named 15 November 1997, which initially assumed power 18 September 1988 under the name State Law and Order Restoration Council; the SPDC oversees the cabinet
elections: Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note - the prime minister is both the chief of state and head of government

Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly or Pyithu Hluttaw (485 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 May 1990, but Assembly never convened
election results: percent of vote by party - NLD 82%; seats by party - NLD 396, NUP 10, other 79

Judicial branch: limited; remnants of the British-era legal system in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive

Political parties and leaders:National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SHWE, chairman, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, general secretary]; National Unity Party or NUP (proregime) [THA KYAW]; Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [U KHUN TUN OO]; Union Solidarity and Development Association or USDA (proregime, a social and political organization) [THAN AUNG, general secretary]; and other smaller parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: All Burma Student Democratic Front or ABSDF; Kachin Independence Army or KIA; Karen National Union or KNU; National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or NCGUB [Dr. SEIN WIN] consists of individuals legitimately elected to the People's Assembly but not recognized by the military regime (the group fled to a border area and joined with insurgents in December 1990 to form a parallel government); several Shan factions; United Wa State Army or UWSA

International organization participation: AsDB, ASEAN (observer), CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, Mekong Group, NAM, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador U LINN MYAING
chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9044, 9045
FAX : [1] (202) 332-9046
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Permanent Charge d'Affaires Priscilla A. CLAPP
embassy: 581 Merchant Street, Rangoon (GPO 521)
mailing address : Box B, APO AP 96546
telephone: [95] (1) 282055, 282182 (operator assistance required)
FAX: [95] (1) 280409

Flag description: red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing, all in white, 14 five-pointed stars encircling a cogwheel containing a stalk of rice; the 14 stars represent the 14 administrative divisions


Economy - overview:Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from abject rural poverty. The military regime took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including an official exchange rate that overvalues the Burmese kyat by more than 100 times the market rate. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election. Burma is data poor, and official statistics are often dated and inaccurate. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the official economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $63 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42%
industry: 17%
services : 41% (2000 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 20% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 23.7 million (1999 est.)
by occupation: agriculture 65%, industry 10%, services 25% (1999 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5.1% (2001 est.)

revenues: $7.9 billion
expenditures : $12.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY96/97)

Industries: agricultural processing; textiles and footwear; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer

Industrial production growth rate:NA%

Electricity - capacity: 1.21 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 4.766 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 4.432 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: paddy rice, corn, oilseed, sugarcane, pulses; hardwood

total value: $1.8 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: rice, pulses and beans, teak, rubber, hardwood
partners: US 27%, India 16%, China 7%, Japan 6%, Singapore 6% (2000 est.)

total value : $2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, food products, consumer goods
partners: China 26%, Singapore 23%, South Korea 15%, Japan 10%, Taiwan 10% (2000 est.)

Debt - external: $6 billion (FY99/00 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: $99 million (FY98/99)

Currency: 1 kyat (MMK) = 100 pyas

Exchange rates: kyats per US dollar - official rate - 6.8581 (January 2002), 6.7489 (2001), 6.5167 (2000), 6.2858 (1999), 6.3432 (1998), 6.2418 (1997); kyats per US dollar - black market exchange rate - 435 (yearend 2000)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Telephones: 250,000 (2000)

Telephone system: meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government; international service is good
domestic: NA
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 3 (1998)

Radios: 4.2 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:2 (1998)

Televisions: 320,000 (2000)


total : 3,991 km
narrow gauge: 3,991 km 1.000-m gauge (2000 est.)

total:28,200 km
paved: 3,440 km
unpaved : 24,760 km (1996)

Waterways: 12,800 km; 3,200 km navigable by large commercial vessels

Pipelines: crude oil 1,343 km; natural gas 330 km

Ports and harbors: Bassein, Bhamo, Chauk, Mandalay, Moulmein, Myitkyina, Rangoon, Akyab (Sittwe), Tavoy

Merchant marine:
total:35 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 382,386 GRT/582,084 DWT
ships by type : bulk 9, cargo 21, container 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker

Airports: 80 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m:4
914 to 1,523 m : 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total : 72
over 3,047 m:2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 21
under 914 m:33 (2001)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 12,211,144
females age 15-49: 12,223,069
note: both sexes liable for military service(2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 6,502,013
females:6,491,732 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 486,432
females: 470,667 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $39 million (FY97/98)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.1% (FY97/98)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: despite renewed border committee talks, significant differences remain with Thailand over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic guerrilla rebels, refugees, smuggling, and drug trafficking in cross-border region; Burmese attempts to construct a dam on border stream with Bangladesh in 2001 prompted an armed response halting construction; Burmese Muslim migration into Bangladesh strains Bangladesh's meager resources

Illicit drugs: world's largest illicit producer of opium (2,560 metric tons in 1996 - a 9% increase over 1995) and a minor producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; surrender of drug warlord KHUN SA's Mong Tai Army in January 1996 was hailed by Rangoon as a major counternarcotics success, but lack of serious government commitment and resources continue to hinder the overall antidrug effort; growing role in the production of methamphetamines for regional consumption

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