Hours from now Obama will be visiting Myanmar, but the people here have been star or more so “Obama struck” since news got out that President Obama shall be making a historic trip to Yangon. This visit is not just historic, but a sign of many shifts and advancements for the country as a whole. A place that was known for just politic issues and pagodas, is now having investors pour in looking to build websites, buy real estate, do mining, and gain better understanding about the many gaps that exist.
During my March trip to Yangon, the sense of change was evident, but the heat had kept the tourist increase from being too apparent. This November, the peak tourist season was at an all-time peak. Tourists, window shopping investors, and maybe even some foreign Obama struck folks, have fully booked most of Yangon’s hotels.
This weekend NBC, BBC and other major media folks have been going to various events in Myanmar and trying to get insight on what is happening in Myanmar to create a story about the Obama visit. Soon the buzz will end, but one thing is for sure, local entrepreneurs are well aware that it had now become trendy to visit Myanmar. Where should investors focus? The telecom industry needs support here to better connect the villages to Internet, tech education, low priced mobile devices, cheap tablet market, used cars, hotel websites, online banking, crowd funded projects, and many more gaps await partnership and investment needs. However the majority of folks are interested in working on fixing basic issues, such as recycling, alternative energy use, job training gaps, better agriculture (the major means of income for most the country’s population) products, and child rearing education.
What’s next? Well, seeing the amount of window shopping investors, and freshly set up entrepreneurs that still lack offices or even local mobile numbers, it’s safe to say the future is raw and very much going to be a new Myanmar.
Here is an image of Setsuko Oya and I at Myanmar International Fashion Week today in Myanmar clothing, looking excited and being Obama Struck! http://instagr.am/p/SLR9o3laaJ/
Naureen Nayyar, twitter: @norabean