Minister Paolo Gentiloni started a mission in Myanmar today that will last until 8 April. Mr Gentiloni met Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, making him the first Western foreign minister to meet her following her appointment to Myanmar’s foreign ministry. The minister’s agenda includes meetings with President Htin Kyaw, the Minister of Religious and Cultural Affairs, Thura U Aung Ko, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, and the Minister of Construction, U Win Khaing.The visit is taking place at a historic time for Myanmar. The establishment of the government led by the National League for Democracy is in fact a fundamental step forward in the country’s democratic transition process, at a time when many opportunities are opening up for Italian companies.After 50 years of international isolation, Myanmar is now considered a country of great economic development opportunities. Trade with Italy is increasing, and there is a growing interest among our companies, as demonstrated by the more than 100 companies that took part in the “Italian Products Expo 2015” in Yangon, in October 2015, organised with the contribution of the Embassy and ICE.The main cooperation opportunities are in the agro-food sector and in agricultural machinery, mining, tourism, energy, infrastructure and construction, and oil and gas.Myanmar is a priority country for Italian Cooperation. Since 2011, the value of interventions has grown to over 35 million euros.
Cultural, scientific and technological cooperation
During the visit, a cultural, scientific and technological cooperation agreement will be signed, providing a framework in which to develop relations between the two countries’ higher education systems, as well as in the fields of science, technology, literature, art and culture, sport, entertainment and information.The aim is to contribute to improving the mutual knowledge of the two countries’ people and culture and to strengthen cooperation in the cultural, scientific and technological fields.History and culture in particular is an area in which Italy is contributing its experience, by participating with UNESCO and the Burmese Ministry of Culture in activities to preserve the Country’s heritage. Italy’s contribution began in 2011 and has reached 1.4 million dollars. The projects put in place so far, implemented by UNESCO, have enabled the Ministry of Culture to preserve important sites, including the ancient cities of Pyu, which were included in the UNESCO list in 2014, and the Bagan archaeological area.
“Italy in Myanmar 2016: our legacy from the past, our vision of the future”
The Embassy in Yangon is planning a busy programme of events for 2016 entitled “Italy in Myanmar 2016: our legacy from the past, our vision of the future”, which includes a range of initiatives and events ranging from photography to promoting the Italian language, fine cuisine, cinema and music.In this context, Minister Gentiloni will also attend the opening of the prize-awarding ceremony for the “Yangon cultural heritage: looking back at the past in order to develop a sustainable future” photography competition.