CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Burma

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map of Burma

Introduction Burma
Background: Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the ruling junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and is currently under house arrest. In December 2004, the junta announced it was extending her detention for at least an additional year. Her supporters, as well as all those who promote democracy and improved human rights, are routinely harassed or jailed.

Geography Burma
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
Geographic coordinates: 22 00 N, 98 00 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total: 678,500 sq km
land: 657,740 sq km
water: 20,760 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundaries: total: 5,876 km
border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km
Coastline: 1,930 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)
Terrain: central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m
highest point: Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m
Natural resources: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 15.19%
permanent crops: 0.97%
other: 83.84% (2001)
Irrigated land: 15,920 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes

People Burma
Population: 42,720,196
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.6% (male 6,023,874; female 5,774,055)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 14,317,308; female 14,504,500)
65 years and over: 4.9% (male 927,570; female 1,172,889) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 25.7 years
male: 25.2 years
female: 26.3 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.47% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 18.64 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 12.16 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 68.78 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 62.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 74.78 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 56.01 years
male: 54.22 years
female: 57.9 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.08 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 330,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 20,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria, leptospirosis
overall degree of risk: very high (2004)
Nationality: noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese
Ethnic groups: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Languages: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.3%
male: 89.2%
female: 81.4% (2002)

Government Burma
Country name: conventional long form: Union of Burma
conventional short form: Burma
local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma
local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar)
note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; this decision was not approved by any sitting legislature in Burma, and the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw
Government type: military junta
Capital: Rangoon (government refers to the capital as Yangon)
Administrative divisions: 7 divisions (taing-myar, singular - taing) and 7 states (pyi ne-myar, singular - pyi ne)
: divisions: Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon (Rangoon)
: states: Chin State, Kachin State, Kayin State, Kayah State, Mon State, Rakhine State, Shan State
Independence: 4 January 1948 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)
Constitution: 3 January 1974 (suspended since 18 September 1988); national convention convened in 1993 to draft a new constitution but collapsed in 1996; reconvened in 2004 but does not include participation of democratic opposition
Legal system: has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister, Gen SOE WIN (since 19 October 2004)
elections: none
cabinet: State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); military junta, so named 15 November 1997, which initially assumed power 18 September 1988 under the name State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); the SPDC oversees the cabinet
Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly or Pyithu Hluttaw (485 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NLD 392 (opposition), SNLD 23 (opposition), NUP 10 (pro-government), other 60
elections: last held 27 May 1990, but Assembly never allowed by junta to convene
Judicial branch: remnants of the British-era legal system are in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive
Political parties and leaders: National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SHWE, chairman, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, general secretary]; National Unity Party or NUP (progovernment) [THA KYAW]; Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [KHUN HTUN OO]; and other smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or NCGUB (self-proclaimed government in exile) ["Prime Minister" Dr. SEIN WIN] consists of individuals, some legitimately elected to the People's Assembly in 1990 (the group fled to a border area and joined insurgents in December 1990 to form parallel government in exile); Kachin Independence Army or KIA; Karen National Union or KNU; several Shan factions; United Wa State Army or UWSA; Union Solidarity and Development Association or USDA (progovernment, a social and political organization) [THAN AUNG, general secretary]
International organization participation: ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: vacant
chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: New York (UN)
FAX: [1] (202) 332-9046
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9044
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires Carmen M. MARTINEZ
embassy: 581 Merchant Street, Rangoon (GPO 521)
mailing address: Box B, APO AP 96546
telephone: [95] (1) 379 880, 379 881
FAX: [95] (1) 256 018
Flag description: red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing, 14 white five-pointed stars encircling a cogwheel containing a stalk of rice; the 14 stars represent the 7 administrative divisions and 7 states

Economy Burma
Economy - overview: Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from government controls and abject rural poverty. The military regime took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including a steep inflation rate and an official exchange rate that overvalues the Burmese kyat by more than 100 times the market rate. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election. A crisis in the private banking sector in early 2003 followed by economic moves against Burma by the United States, the European Union, and Japan - including a US ban on imports from Burma and a Japanese freeze on new bilateral economic aid - further weakened the Burmese economy. Burma is data poor, and official statistics are often dated and inaccurate. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the official economy. Better relations with foreign countries and relaxed controls at home are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. In February 2003, a major banking crisis hit the country's 20 private banks, shutting them down and disrupting the economy. In July and August 2003, the United States imposed a ban on all Burmese imports and a ban on provision of financial services, hampering Burma's ability to obtain foreign exchange. As of January 2004, the largest private banks remained moribund, leaving the private sector with little formal access to credit outside of government contracts.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $74.53 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -0.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 57.2%
industry: 9.6%
services: 33.1% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 11.8% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 25% (2000 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 49.7% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 22.14 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 70%, industry 7%, services 23% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.2% (2003)
Budget: revenues: $7.9 billion
expenditures: $12.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY96/97)
Agriculture - products: rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products
Industries: agricultural processing; knit and woven apparel; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; cement
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Electricity - production: 6.139 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 5.709 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 18,590 bbl/day (2002 est.)
Oil - consumption: 38,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: NA (2001)
Oil - imports: NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 115 million bbl (1 January 2003)
Natural gas - production: 7.35 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 5.2 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 314.4 billion cu m (1 January 2003)
Current account balance: $-35 million (2003)
Exports: $2.434 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: Clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice
Exports - partners: Thailand 31.5%, US 10.2%, India 9.3%, China 5.8%, Japan 4.8% (2003)
Imports: $2.071 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: Fabric, petroleum products, plastics, machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, crude oil; food products
Imports - partners: China 31.1%, Singapore 22.3%, Thailand 15.1%, South Korea 6.3%, Malaysia 4.8%, Japan 4.3% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $562 million (2003)
Debt - external: $6.011 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $127 million (2001 est.)
Currency: kyat (MMK)
Currency code: MMK
Exchange rates: kyats per US dollar - 6.0764 (2003), 6.5734 (2002), 6.6841 (2001), 6.5167 (2000), 6.2858 (1999)
note: these are official exchange rates; unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2003 from 100 kyat/US dollar to nearly 1000 kyat/US dollar
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications Burma
Telephones - main lines in use: 357,300 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 66,500 (2003)
Telephone system: general assessment: barely meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government; international service is fair
domestic: NA
international: country code - 95; satellite earth station - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean), and ShinSat
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 1 (2004)
Radios: 4.2 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (2004)
Televisions: 320,000 (2000)
Internet country code: .mm
Internet hosts: 3 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1
note: as of September 2000, Internet connections were legal only for the government, tourist offices, and a few large businesses (2000)
Internet users: 28,000 (2003)

Transportation Burma
Railways: total: 3,955 km
narrow gauge: 3,955 km 1.000-m gauge (2003)
Highways: total: 28,200 km
paved: 3,440 km
unpaved: 24,760 km (1996 est.)
Waterways: 12,800 km (2004)
Pipelines: gas 2,056 km; oil 558 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Bhamo, Chauk, Mandalay, Moulmein, Myitkyina, Pathein, Rangoon, Sittwe, Tavoy
Merchant marine: total: 31 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 384,529 GRT/608,609 DWT
foreign-owned: Germany 6, Japan 4 (2004 est.)
by type: bulk 8, cargo 18, container 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1
Airports: 79 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 9
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 69
under 914 m: 31 (2004 est.)
914 to 1,523 m: 20
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
Heliports: 1 (2003 est.)

Military Burma
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service for both sexes (May 2002)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 12,450,884
females age 15-49: 12,457,077 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 6,609,995
females age 15-49: 6,595,611 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 441,333
females: 440,914 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $39 million (FY97)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.1% (FY97)

This page was last updated on 1 January 2003

This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005