Myanmar president has urged the nation’s millions-strong diaspora — a significant proportion of the roughly 60 million Burmese — to return, state media reported yesterday, as the country seeks skilled workers to help smooth the passage of reform.
Several million people fled Myanmar’s corrupt economy and political repression, leaving the country desperately short of professionals to help it manage massive economic and political change.
Pledging to help emigres establish businesses as resource-rich Myanmar braces for a surge of foreign investment and an economic boom, Burmese President Thein Sein asked migrants to return.
“Offers are being constantly extended to Myanmar citizens who have been abroad for various reasons to come back home,” he was quoted as saying in English-language state newspaper the New Light of Myanmar.
“Those who were abroad include technicians, experts, businessmen,” Thein Sein said. “The state would render necessary assistance to them if they have any difficulties in doing business in the nation.”
Many exiles have been emboldened to return by a surprising series of political and economic reforms.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi took a seat in the Burmese parliament and hundreds of political prisoners were freed, although many others remain behind bars.
The EU responded by suspending a wide range of trade, economic and individual sanctions, but left intact an arms embargo.
However, the US kept its main sanctions, hoping to use them to press the regime to end ethnic violence, which has marred the regime’s reformist image.