Population: 54 million
Poverty rate: 24.8%
Myanmar’s first democratic elections in 2015 marked a turning point for the country and triggered rapid economic growth and welfare improvements. Between 2005 and 2017, poverty almost halved, falling from 48 to 25 per cent. However, political turmoil combined with the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse much of this progress, with the United Nations Development Program warning that the dual crises could force half the population into poverty by 2022.
Gender, ethnicity, and citizenship are key barriers that prevent low-income communities from accessing public services and economic opportunity. Myanmar is also extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, including floods, earthquakes, landslides, and drought, and was identified as one of the countries most affected by climate change in the 2020 Global Climate Risk Index.