South Korea lends $183m for Dala bridge, rail coaches

YANGON — South Korea is to lend Myanmar US$183 million for a bridge linking downtown Yangon and Dala and 100 new railway coaches, the Korea Times reported on November 19.

The loan was extended by the state-run Import-Export Bank of Korea, known as Eximbank, the Seoul newspaper stated.

The 40-year low-interest loan is being provided through Eximbank’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund, a bank spokeswoman said.

The Myanmar government placed orders with South Korean companies to build the bridge and provide the new carriages in return for the loan, she added.

The bridge over the Yangon River is expected to take five years to build.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

An Eximbank statement said the South Korean company to be chosen through a bidding process to supply the rail carriages would be required to assemble some in Myanmar under a manufacturing technology transfer arrangement.

The loan agreements were signed by Eximbank chairman and president Lee Duk-hoon, the Deputy Minister of Construction, U Win Myint, and the Deputy Minister of Rail Transportation, U Myint Thein, in Nay Pyi Taw on November 16.

Mr Lee also met President U Thein Sein the same day for talks on promoting bilateral cooperation in the private sector, the Eximbank statement said.

The $183 million loan is the second EDCF-based deal of its kind with Myanmar. In 1996, Eximbank extended a $20 million EDCF loan for a project to buy railway carriages. The Myanmar government is still repaying the 30-year loan, said Eximbank.

“The low-rate EDCF loans given to developing countries are not designed for investment gains. They are just to help emerging countries stand on their own feet in terms of industrial development,” the bank spokeswoman said.

To the end of October, Eximbank had extended a total of $423 million in EDCF loans to 10 state projects in Myanmar, the statement said. The bank has also provided $496 million in export financing to South Korean companies operating in Myanmar, it said.

“Eximbank will hold a joint investment road show with Myanmar and its companies, make efforts to boost business ties between the Myanmar government and Korean firms, and diversify export financing to support those ties,” Mr Lee said.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar