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Myanmar: Suu Kyi woos investors to Rakhine; experts say focus on economic solutions could marginalize Rohingya

Author: Simon Lewis, Reuters, Published on: 23 February 2019

"Myanmar's Suu Kyi woos investors to crisis-hit Rakhine, decries "negative" focus", 22 February 2019

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for investment in the crisis-hit western state of Rakhine...saying the world had "focused narrowly on negative aspects" in the state from which some 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since 2017.

...Suu Kyi emphasized responsible business practices as she addressed an investment fair sponsored by Japan in the coastal state's tourist hotspot of Ngapali beach.

She made only a brief reference to the violence...with Rakhine rebels that has displaced more than 5,000....

"For too long the international community's attention has been focused narrowly on negative aspects related to problems in north Rakhine rather than on the panoramic picture that shows the immense potential of this state for peace and prosperity," Suu Kyi said.

...Some experts warn that a focus on economic solutions to Rakhine's problems could cement the marginalization of the mostly stateless Rohingya.

...Domestic and foreign investment could play a crucial role in the state, Suu Kyi said, but she warned against irresponsible investment like "unchecked expansion of commercial fishery projects" that could damage Rakhine's coastal mangrove forests.

...Asked about the lack of discussion of Rakhine's crises, Aung Naing Oo, director-general of Myanmar's Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, said the fair was not the place to discuss politics.

"Investment is not political," he said, adding that Myanmar's laws would guarantee that projects agreed at the event would benefit all the state's people, including by creating employment.


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