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This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006

Map of Burma

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Burma Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and subsequently transferred to house arrest, where she remains virtually incommunicado. In November 2005, the junta extended her detention for at least another six months. Her supporters, as well as all those who promote democracy and improve d human rights, are routinely harassed or jailed.
   Geography    Burma Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
22 00 N, 98 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 678,500 sq km
land: 657,740 sq km
water: 20,760 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5,876 km
border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km
Definition Field Listing
1,930 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Definition Field Listing
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)
Definition Field Listing
central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m
highest point: Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 14.92%
permanent crops: 1.31%
other: 83.77% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
18,700 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes
   People    Burma Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 6,335,236/female 6,181,216)
15-64 years: 68.5% (male 16,011,723/female 16,449,626)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 1,035,853/female 1,368,979) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 27 years
male: 26.4 years
female: 27.6 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.81% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17.91 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.83 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 61.85 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 72.68 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.38 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 60.97 years
male: 58.07 years
female: 64.03 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.98 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
330,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations (2005)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Definition Field Listing
Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Definition Field Listing
Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.3%
male: 89.2%
female: 81.4% (2002)
   Government    Burma Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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
note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
military junta
Definition Field Listing
name: Rangoon (Yangon)
geographic coordinates: 16 47 N, 96 10 E
time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
7 divisions (taing-myar, singular - taing) and 7 states (pyi ne-myar, singular - pyi ne)
divisions: Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon
states: Chin State, Kachin State, Kayah State, Kayin State, Mon State, Rakhine State, Shan State
Definition Field Listing
4 January 1948 (from UK)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)
Definition Field Listing
3 January 1974; suspended since 18 September 1988; national convention convened in 1993 to draft a new constitution but collapsed in 1996; reconvened in 2004 but does not include participation of democratic opposition
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister, Gen SOE WIN (since 19 October 2004)
cabinet: Cabinet is overseen by the SPDC; military junta, so named 15 November 1997, assumed power 18 September 1988 under the name State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
elections: none
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 allowed by junta to convene
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NLD 392 (opposition), SNLD 23 (opposition), NUP 10 (pro-government), other 60
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
remnants of the British-era legal system are in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SHWE, chairman, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, general secretary]; National Unity Party or NUP (pro-regime) [THA KYAW] (at last report); Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [HKUN HTUN OO]; and other smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or NCGUB (self-proclaimed government in exile) ["Prime Minister" Dr. SEIN WIN] consists of individuals, some legitimately elected to the People's Assembly in 1990 (the group fled to a border area and joined insurgents in December 1990 to form parallel government in exile); Kachin Independence Organization or KIO; Karen National Union or KNU; several Shan factions; United Wa State Army or UWSA; Union Solidarity and Development Association or USDA (pro-regime, a social and political mass-member organization) [HTAY OO, general secretary]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires MYINT LWIN
chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-3344
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4351
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Shari VILLAROSA
embassy: 581 Merchant Street, Rangoon (GPO 521)
mailing address: Box B, APO AP 96546
telephone: [95] (1) 379-880, 379-881
FAX: [95] (1) 256-018
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing, 14 white five-pointed stars encircling a cogwheel containing a stalk of rice; the 14 stars represent the seven administrative divisions and seven states
   Economy    Burma Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. The junta took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism," but those efforts stalled, and some of the liberalization measures were rescinded. Burma does not have monetary or fiscal stability, so the economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including inflation, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, and a distorted interest rate regime. Most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently refused to honor the results of the 1990 legislative elections. In response to the government of Burma's attack in May 2003 on AUNG SAN SUU KYI and her convoy, the US imposed new economic sanctions against Burma - including a ban on imports of Burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by US persons . A poor investment climate further slowed the inflow of foreign exchange. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries, especially oil and gas, mining, and timber. Other areas, such as manufacturing and services, are struggling with inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable import/export policies, deteriorating health and education systems, and corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 shuttered the country's 20 private banks and disrupted the economy. As of December 2005, the largest private banks operate under tight restrictions limiting the private sector's access to formal credit. Official statistics are inaccurate. Published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade - often estimated to be as large as the official economy. Burma's trade with Thailand, China, and India is rising. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$78.74 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$7.464 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.9% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1,700 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 56.4%
industry: 8.2%
services: 35.3% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.75 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 70%
industry: 7%
services: 23% (2001)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
25% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.2% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $473.3 million
expenditures: $716.6 million; including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY04/05 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products
Definition Field Listing
agricultural processing; knit and woven apparel; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; cement; natural gas
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.393 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.875 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
32,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,356 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
49,230 bbl/day (2003)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 1 billion bbl (2005)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.98 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.569 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.424 billion cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
283.2 billion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$700 million (2005 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.111 billion f.o.b.
note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh (2004)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Thailand 44.9%, India 11.5%, China 6.9%, Japan 5.1% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.454 billion f.o.b.
note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India (2004)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fabric, petroleum products, plastics, machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, crude oil; food products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
China 29.3%, Thailand 22.2%, Singapore 18.7%, Malaysia 5.4% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$763 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.99 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$127 million (2001 est.)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
kyat (MMK)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
kyats per US dollar - 5.761 (2005), 5.7459 (2004), 6.0764 (2003), 6.5734 (2002), 6.6841 (2001)
note: these are official exchange rates; unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2004 from 815 kyat/US dollar to nearly 970 kyat/US dollar, and by year-end 2005, the unofficial exchange rate was 1,075 kyat/US dollar
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
1 April - 31 March
   Communications    Burma Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
424,900 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
92,500 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: barely meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government; international service is fair
domestic: NA
international: country code - 95; satellite earth station - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean), and ShinSat
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1, FM 1 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
2 (2004)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
43 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
63,700 (2005)
   Transportation    Burma Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
85 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 21
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 64
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 32 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 2,056 km; oil 558 km (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 3,955 km
narrow gauge: 3,955 km 1.000-m gauge (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 27,000 km
paved: 3,200 km
unpaved: 23,800 km (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,800 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 34 ships (1000 GRT or over) 402,724 GRT/620,642 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 18, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 3, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 9 (Germany 5, Japan 4) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Moulmein, Rangoon, Sittwe
   Military    Burma Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw): Army, Navy, Air Force (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 12,268,850
females age 18-49: 12,469,771 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 7,946,701
females age 18-49: 8,543,705 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 469,841
females: 455,689 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$39 million (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1% (FY97)
   Transnational Issues    Burma Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
over half of Burma's population consists of diverse ethnic groups with substantial numbers of kin beyond its borders; despite continuing border committee talks, significant differences remain with Thailand over boundary alignment and the handling of ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; ethnic Karens flee into Thailand to escape fighting between Karen rebels and Burmese troops; in 2005 Thailand sheltered about 121,000 Burmese refugees; Karens also protest Thai support for a Burmese hydroelectric dam on the Salween River near the border; environmentalists in Burma and Thailand continue to voice concern over China's construction of hydroelectric dams upstream on the Nujiang/Salween River in Yunnan Province; India seeks cooperation from Burma to keep Indian Nagaland separatists from hiding in remote Burmese uplands
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
IDPs: 550,000-1,000,000 (government offensives against ethnic insurgent groups near borders; most IDPs are ethnic Karen, Karenni, Shan, Tavoyan, and Mon) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
remains world's second largest producer of illicit opium (estimated production in 2004 - 292 metric tons, down 40% from 2003 due to eradication efforts and drought; cultivation in 2004 - 30,900 hectares, a 34% decline from 2003); lack of government will to take on major narcotrafficking groups and lack of serious commitment against money laundering continues to hinder the overall antidrug effort; major source of methamphetamine and heroin for regional consumption; currently under Financial Action Task Force countermeasures due to continued failure to address its inadequate money-laundering controls (2005)

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006

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