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I wrote in an earlier blog on “Roads and Electricity” about the need for investment into transportation links to rural villages, but it isn’t that just access roads and bridges to villages are the only missing pieces of the transportation infrastructure in Myanmar. The photo above shows part of National Highway NH-43 near Chaungwa, Sagaing. We were surprised to find such a long stretch of a national highway unpaved.

It is no wonder that when we met with the Sagaing Region Chief Minister, Dr. Myint Naing, he listed his government’s priorities as: #1 transportation, #2 agriculture and #3 electricity. He reiterated the same message in a speech he gave at the inauguration ceremony of one of our mini-grids in Sagaing (click here for the speech).

In traditional approaches, transportation and electricity access have one thing in common, roads (for transportation) and cables (for electricity) need to be laid across hundreds of thousands of kilometers. However, the good news is that, with decentralized generation and distribution of electricity (such as being done by our company), the cost of such an extensive grid network can be avoided or at a minimum, delayed until consumption levels increase to justify the cost.

As we traveled across many roads (or no roads!) across Myanmar, I pondered what similar innovation can be done in the transportation sector. Improving both road and energy access will be necessary to reduce rural poverty in Myanmar.

– Alakesh Chetia, CEO & Founder of Yoma Micro Power

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