MYANMAR’S democratic transition sometimes seems marked as much by continuity as by change.
Depressingly, the army continues its bloody persecution of Rohingya Muslims in the west. But elsewhere moves to open the country’s markets, started by the preceding military regimes, have gathered pace. New commercial and financial services are springing up.
Take Khin Hlaing, who owns Global Mobile Shop, a small store surrounded by tarpaulin-covered stalls selling fresh fruit in Hlaing Tharyar, an industrial area outside Yangon, the biggest city. He is one of almost 12,000 agents for Wave Money, Myanmar’s largest mobile-money transfer platform. Most days about 20 people use his shop to send funds to friends or family elsewhere in the country.