Mekong Memo Myanmar Weekly, October 17, 2023: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
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Here is your Mekong Memo Myanmar for the week of October 17, 2023:
The Two Faces of Digital Currency
The National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar has leveraged digital currency, specifically the DMMK (Digital Myanmar Kyat), as a beacon of hope against the junta's control. This centralized digital currency, introduced in 2022, aims to bypass junta-controlled banks. While it offers pro-democracy activists a discreet way to support causes without revealing identities, there are concerns about its potential misuse for financial surveillance by authoritarian regimes. The DMMK, tied to the Myanmar kyat's value, has seen transactions exceeding 600 billion kyat since its inception, showcasing its growing acceptance and significance in the nation's fight for democracy.
Read more: VOA
Myanmar Battles Imported Plastic Waste Crisis
A six-month investigation by Frontier, in collaboration with multiple media organizations, has revealed a concerning trend: Myanmar is becoming a dumping ground for plastic waste from wealthy nations. Despite international efforts to curb the global waste trade, lack of enforcement and legal loopholes allow the illicit trade to thrive. The investigation found that Myanmar's porous borders, particularly with Thailand, are exploited to smuggle plastic waste. This alarming situation has been exacerbated by the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, which has led to weakened environmental regulations.
Russia, Myanmar Ignite Gas Pipeline Talks
In a recent meeting held in Moscow, senior energy representatives from Russia and Myanmar deliberated on Russia's potential involvement in building a gas pipeline leading to Yangon. While specific details of the discussion remain undisclosed, it's noteworthy that Myanmar began purchasing Russian oil products last year and expressed a willingness to conduct transactions in rubles.
Read more: Reuters
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