Prominent strategic corporate foundations could soon emerge in Myanmar

Myanmar's foundation and philanthropy sector, at a glance

Number of foundations: Estimated 20-30; source: Tan, Lam (2018): Philanthropic Foundations in Asia
Major network: Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)
State of the sector: Institutional philanthropy is still at the early stage in Myanmar, practised mostly by corporate foundations run by families that own the business; these foundations operate their own programmes independently, with no evidence of partnerships
Biggest opportunity in the sector: As Myanmar opens up to foreign investment, foundations set up by multinational corporations might diffuse strategic philanthropy and lead multi-stakeholder partnerships for impact
Biggest challenge for the sector: The tendency to operate own programmes among foundations in Myanmar might impede their potential to maximise impact
Naina Subberwal Batra
Naina Subberwal Batra

20 September 2018

Interview with Naina Subberwal Batra Chairperson and CEO, Asian Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPN)


Naina, what are the three broad issues that will drive Myanmar’s foundation and philanthropy sector in the next 10 years? 
Sustainable livelihoods, education and health care.

Which topics do you expect philanthropy to focus on?
While Myanmar routinely ranks first in the Charities Aid Foundation’s annual giving ranking, institutional philanthropy is still at the early stage and has the potential to develop in the future, led by local corporate foundations and international foundations.

What is traditional philanthropy and how do you expect this to develop in the future?
Foundations in Myanmar tend to be corporate foundations run by families that own the business. They mostly operate foundations that implement their own programmes and work independently. Several philanthropists create impact by partnering with development finance institutions (for example, Yoma Strategic Holdings and International Finance Corporation (IFC) and this trend is likely to increase in the future.

What role will philanthropy take?
Here will be an increase in partnering with multilateral organisations and development finance institutions.


Will Myanmar’s philanthropy be more nationally focused or also regional and global? 
It is likely to be more nationally focused.

Are there some developments we are not yet aware of at an international level, but that you see coming along in the future? 
In 2015, Myanmar lifted its ban on foreign banks operating in the country. Prominent strategic corporate foundations might emerge as a result of this. Already, Daiwa Securities has established a foundation to support capacity building for the development of the capital market in Myanmar, through scholarships and training.

If people want to get informed about news and trends in the sector in the Myanmar, where can they find this information? 
They should refer to the Asia Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPN).


Compiled by the EZ-Scout seconded to the Association of German Foundations

Next Philanthropy around the world

More experts on how the foundation and philanthropy sector is developing worldwide.
Read more