Country: MYANMAR (BURMA)myanmar

Capital: Naypyidaw

Geographic Coordinates: 22 00 N, 98 00 E

Population: 53,414,374  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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Buddhism, Christianity

Language: Burmese

Government Type: Military junta

Head of State: Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); Prime Minister, Lt. Gen THEIN SEI

Main Industries: agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; natural gas; garments, jade and gems

GDP in US Dollars (per capita): $1,100 (2009 est.)

Currency Code: Kyat (MMK)

Life Expectancy: 59 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)

Environment - current issues: Deforestation; Industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; Inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Issues facing Women and Children: 

  • Infant mortality remains high in Myanmar, with 1 in 10 live births resulting in the death of the infant.
  • Malnutrition is widespread among under-five-year-old children, with about one third of children severely or moderately stunted and underweight.
  • Only 15 per cent of children are exclusively breastfed for the first three months. The practice of giving water to infants continues despite many advocacy campaigns.
  • Malaria continues to be a national priority disease with more than a half million cases every year. Approximately half of malaria deaths in the South-east Asia region occur in Myanmar.
  • More than 25 per cent of the population lacks access to safe drinking water. Arsenic contamination is a major concern.
  • Despite national legislation which prohibits the recruitment of children below 18 years of age into armed forces or groups, minors continue to be recruited in the armed forces of all parties including non-state groups.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: N

Local Media: Press: Kyehmon, Myanmar Alin, Development Council (SPDC), New Light of Myanmar; Radio and TV: Radio Myanmar, TV Myanmar

Interesting Fact: The name Myanmar is derived from the local name Myanma Naingngandaw, which is a name used by the regime which is currently in power there. While the real meaning of the name is not clear, it is interesting to note that it has been used since the 13th century, mainly to refer to the ethnic group of Myanma.

Famous for: General Ne Win, Aung San Suu Kyi, Cyclone Nargis, "Valley of Rubies" (Mogok area), Makphet restaurant, Vang Vieng, Shwedagon Pagoda