Washington International Law Journal


After decades of international condemnation, Myanmar, also known as Burma, has initiated rapid political, economic, and legal reforms. In recognition of these reforms, Western governments have broadly curtailed longstanding sanctions against investing in Myanmar. This sudden opportunity for foreign companies to extract Myanmar’s plentiful petroleum resources has increased the need for Myanmar to implement resource revenue management strategies to guard against adverse consequences of the resource curse. Among these strategies is a call by respected global commentators to create a Myanmar sovereign wealth fund (“SWF”). This article describes each of the main effects generally associated with the resource curse and analyzes how existing global SWFs have been designed to help countries prevent these problems. This article then explores Myanmar’s current political and economic environment to speculate how establishing a SWF would address resource curse concerns and impact Myanmar. In doing so, this article argues that Myanmar currently lacks necessary legal, political, economic, and managerial capacities to support a national sovereign wealth fund at the present time.

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