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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Delivers Speech at World Economic Forum

By Daw Aung San Suu Kyi | January 28, 2011

On Thursday, 28 January 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi delivered a special message to political and business leaders attending the Annual Meeting in Davos. “We need investments in technology and infrastructure,” she pleaded, as Burma strives for national reconciliation, political stability and economic growth.

Full text of the speech:

Distinguished  guests – heads of state, government and UN officials, leaders of global  companies, representatives of the media, academia, NGOs, and young  global leaders:

I am very honoured and privileged to have this  opportunity to address the World Economic Forum in Davos. I would  especially like to extend my appreciation to Professor Klaus Schwab and  the organizers of this influential gathering of leaders who are  committed to improving the state of this planet. Over the past few  years, despite my isolation from much of the world, I have been able to  follow closely the global response to the economic downturn through  listening assiduously to radio broadcasts. While the challenges were  immense, the response was both swift and strong. Of course much still  remains to be done. Our global interdependence has compelled and  resulted in increased cooperation. In this context, however, I would  like to speak on behalf of the 55 million people of Burma who have for  the most part been left behind. We yearn to be a part of the global  community: not only to be economically and socially connected, but also  to achieve the domestic political stability and national reconciliation  that would enable us to fully address the needs of our people. Economic  policies linked to human development and capacity building are the best  path to the achievement of stability in a democratic transition. We have  already missed so many opportunities because of political conflicts in  our country over the last 50 years. Despite an abundance of natural  resources, Burma’s development has lagged far behind its neighbours. Our  government annually spend about 40 percent of our GDP on the military  and barely two percent on health and education combined.

The  young people of Burma need the kind of education that has enabled Young  Global Leaders, some of whom are present at this gathering, to excel so  early in their careers. We need investments in technology and  infrastructure. We need to counter and eventually eradicate widespread  poverty by offering opportunities that will allow the entrepreneurial  spirit of our people to be gainfully harnessed through micro lending  programmes. The National League for Democracy (NLD) has in fact embarked  on an experimental micro credit scheme on a very small scale. We need  to address the tragic consequences of preventable diseases, particularly  in conflict zones and rural areas. At the same time, we also need to  pay close attention to the costs and collateral damage of our  development, whether environmental or social. These however can be  contained if we plan ahead responsibly. In addition to these enormous  challenges, we also need to reform our legal system that we might be  able to attract foreign direct investment and guarantee the rule of law.

I  believe that as necessary steps towards integration within the global  community Burma must achieve national reconciliation, political  stability, and economic growth grounded in human resources development.  Without the first two which are essential for the basic requirements of  good governance such as transparency, accountability, credibility and  integrity, social and economic development will remain mere pipe dreams.  I would like to request those who have invested or who are thinking of  investing in Burma to put a premium on respect for the law ,on  environmental and social factors, on the rights of workers, on job  creation and on the promotion of technological skills. Such an approach  would not only be in line with a global sense of responsibility, it  would lead in the long run to greater benefits for all concerned. I look  forward to the day when there will be a political and social  environment that is favourable to a wide range of investments in Burma.  We are certainly in need of innovation and diversification if our  country is to fulfill the aspirations of its people and catch up with the  rest of the world. I would like to appeal to all those present at this  gathering to use their particular opportunities and skills as far as  possible to promote national reconciliation, genuine democratization,  human development and economic growth in Burma that our people may in  turn be able make their own contribution towards a safer a happier world.

Thank you.

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Economy

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