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Centre of Excellence for Business Skills Development provides opportunities for discussion and training to develop Myanmar’s financial capability

The CEBSD hosted a seminar “Building Myanmar’s financial architecture”, trained some 30 plus business people and students in financial literacy and conducted a workshop on evaluating investment opportunities for its “Financial February” month.

Participants of Seminar on “Building Myanmar’s Financial Architecture”

The seminar attracted 190 people from both international and local businesses and banks, Yangon University of Economics MBA students and professors, the media and other interested participants of the financial sector in Myanmar.

Dr. Khin Naing Oo, Rector of Yangon University of Economics opened the seminar, welcoming the audience to the University and noting the importance of this discussion for the development of Myanmar’s economy. Her remarks were echoed by TVET specialist and consultant for the CEBSD, Ms. Robyn Jackson, representing the UNESCO office in Myanmar. Ms. Jackson also said “This seminar is one of a series of opportunities brought to you by the Centre of Excellence for Business Skills Development, a public private partnership between UNESCO, Yangon University of Economics and PepsiCo.  The CEBSD aims to provide a space where the private sector and the academic community can discuss issues that affect the business community in Myanmar as well as offering training programmes and workshops that develop the skills and knowledge of young people in Myanmar.”

Winston Set Aung the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar spoke on the current state of the Myanmar financial environment. In answer to one query on the current issue of the fluctuating exchange rate, Mr. Aung noted that there are many mechanisms that the Central Bank can use to create greater stability for the kyat, but “it is a complex issue that requires further development of the financial and banking sectors, including relevant legislation”. The audience and members of the panel that followed his presentation, particularly appreciated the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the Central Bank.

The panel “What are the needs for an effective reform of Myanmar’s financial system?” was ably moderated by Managing Director of Sandanila, Thiri Thant Mon and featured Hal Bosher, advisor to the CEO of YOMA Bank, Khaing Zar Aung, Chief Representative Officer, Willis Myanmar and Aung Thura, Managing Director of Thura Swiss.

Serge Pun, Executive Chairman, Serge Pun and Associates gave a lively and informative presentation on financial architecture and economic performance, and also joined the panel exploring “Opportunities and challenges for economic operators”. Mr Pun, well known in Myanmar, was very open in his comments on the constraints to businesses imposed by the lack of a stable, clear and well-regulated financial sector.

Panel Discussion-“Opportunities and Challenges for Economic Operators


Fred Eck, President of the Randolph Group and a regular contributor to the CEBSD, moderated the final panel topic with, in addition to Serge Pun, Ziv Ragowski, Business Development Director for the AWBA group and Rene Meza, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar. All three panelists contributed their experience with mobile money systems and the possibilities for this to improve the access to money especially for the many small business people across Myanmar.

The audiences were very active participants in the discussion, asking many questions. It was especially gratifying to see the University professors pursuing answers to some of the more pressing issues for Myanmar as the CEBSD has an important function in encouraging the dialogue between the private sector and the University.

At a more ground level, the CEBSD conducted a very successful training programme on developing Financial Literacy skills and knowledge for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Myanmar. The programme curriculum and materials were provided by Standard Chartered Bank and it was delivered at   the CEBSD by Yangon University of Economics lecturers and two finance industry professionals. The programme was run over 6 mornings and included cash flow management; budgeting; overview of accounts; reviewing of accounts; and business planning for the future.

The programme was developed by SCB in response to the lack of financial education and inclusion which limits economic opportunities for individuals and hampers the development of SMEs. SCB pledged to the Clinton Global Initiative to educate 5,000 SMEs over five years and chose to support the CEBSD to deliver this training in Myanmar.

Participants and Guest Trainer Mr. Brian McMahon (Operations Manager-Myanmar Investments) for “Financial Literacy for Start-ups”

One participant, Ma May Thet Htoo Khine, commented that the training “helped me understand the importance of preparing accounts and the differences between cash and profit, assets, liabilities and equities”.  Another, Ko Si Thu Htut, noted that before the course he “had limited knowledge of managing cash flow”. After completing the training he understood how to make cash flow more efficient and easier to manage. A further four courses will be offered during 2016, which is good given the long waiting list!

Also part of “Financial February”, Fred Eck of the Randolph Group conducted a follow-up workshop to the very popular “Using the Balance Sheet to develop your business”. The “Return on Investment” workshop was delivered in collaboration with the UMFCCI (Myanmar Chamber of Commerce and Industry)and covered: compound returns; doubling and rule of 72; measuring returns; hurdle rate; opportunity cost; risk; projections; when to sell,  buy and hold.

CEBSD students were sharing experiences with UMFCCI members and workshop participants

“Return on Investment Analysis” Workshop by Fred Eck. President of the Randolph Group

Financial February was yet another success for the CEBSD, providing opportunities for stakeholders across the academic and business communities to learn, practice and share business knowledge and skills that are much needed by the broader community of Myanmar. Our thanks go to the many contributors from the private sector, the Yangon University of Economic, students and UNESCO staff as well as our main sponsor, PepsiCo for making this possible.

The CEBSD is the product of the Strengthening Business Skills for Youth Employment in Myanmar project, a public private partnership between Yangon University of Economics, UNESCO, and PepsiCo.

For further information on the CEBSD and what it offers please contact: Seint Sandar Hlaing, National Project Coordinator UNESCO,, Tin Nilar Aye, Project Assistant, CEBSD, or Robyn Jackson, TVET Specialist, .