Myanmar’s Central Statistical Organisation launched a new website on 20 October – World Statistics Day, as it turns out – serving as a clearing-house for more than 300 data sets. It offers easy access to previously hard-to-obtain information on everything from production and trade to demographics, infrastructure, social conditions, and the environment.
The website, called the Myanmar Information System (MMSIS), “is meant to respond to the growing demands of data users for various statistics that describe socio-economic conditions in Myanmar, at national and sub-national levels, across various periods,” the site claims. It was built with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the information it contains was largely aggregated by the CSO, which falls under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.
At the launch event in Naypyidaw, Dr Kan Zaw, the minister of National Planning and Economic Development, said “it wasn’t until recently that the importance of statistics in developing policies were duly recognised, along with their link to achieving sustainable development goals,” state media reported, adding that “collecting data about what Myanmar’s society may look like in 2020 will prove extremely useful in planning for the future.”
For this reason, although much of the economic data will be of immediate use, it lacks historical depth due to a paucity of data, with most data sets starting within the past five years.
Data on agricultural production, forestry and mining is readily available. Some of the statistics displayed on the website – such as the number of crocodiles raised on farms across the country, sorted by size (517 in total, as of last year) and the number of cinema seats in each state and region (Rakhine, Kachin, Mon, Chin, Kayah, and Sagaing apparently have none), are decidedly esoteric.
The government announced that a five-year national strategy to improve the country’s ability to collect and interpret statistical data will be announced “before the end of the year”.