The significant shift in the technological transition took place when Myanmar came out from decades long authoritarian rule and economic isolation. As the country opened up to the world in 2012, the availability of mobile phones usage increased from 7% to 33% between 2012 and 2014 and the numbers are still increasing. As the availability of mobile phones and Internet increased, a growth in technological sector is noted.
According to McKinsey’s AI adoption level within ASEAN countries, Myanmar is emerging in High Tech, Telecom, and Healthcare sectors. As a result, the demand for technological start-ups and social enterprises rose.
A.I in Agriculture Sector
There are two prominent tech start-ups in one of the country’s largest GDP contributing sectors, Agriculture. Village Link start-up, the winner of ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup award offers farmers a mobile app integrated with remote sensing technology and image recognition to provide farmers data of their topography, crop yields and other intra/inter-field availability in crops. In addition, Village link also manages a VLSS platform, which utilizes satellite data including satellite-based specific aperture radar (SAR) data, geospatial modeling and agriculture-focused satellite imagery in order to model, visualize and aggregate data feeds to provide key insights and personalized solutions to businesses and companies. The platform offers services such as flood monitoring, localized weathered monitoring and various crops related tracking metrics.  The Green Way mobile app is launched to empower people in the agriculture sector with the digital literacy and communication for development skills. UNESCO Myanmar and Myanmar Agri-Tech start-up, Greenovator set the project of the app in motion in 2016 with a launch event with 100 stakeholders from government, media, international organizations and civil society. The app offers a place for agri-related consultations, resources, a digital marketplace and a knowledge information hub for farmers. The app is free of charge and had an agreement in Myanmar’s department of Agriculture to use the app solely as a tool for the real-time government announcements and collaboration with the firm’s team for visits to farmers on the ground.
The Power of Women in Tech
UNESCO data shows that more than 80% of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics researchers in Myanmar are women.  According to Frontier Myanmar Newspaper, 70% of the 3000 graduates from Myanmar’s 25 computer universities are women. Furthermore, Myanmar-based innovation hub Phandeeyar confirmed that out of 16 tech start-ups, eight are led by women and 12 graduates out of 20 from the Yangon chapter of Founder Institute, a global tech entrepreneurship are women. The achievements of women were not built overnight. These women deserve applause for working hard and building their skill sets to adapt in the 8 years old young tech industry based on digitalization after the telecom market liberalization in 2013.
Tech Education and Digital Literacy
The technological transition and market liberalization have created job opportunities for young people and encouraged them to be creative. In 2020, University of Computer Studies, Taungoo developed an android based app which identifies pests by using an AI server online and provides useful information such as pest characteristics, protection methods, pesticide usage per acre, and effect of pesticide and diagnosis plan with cloud- messaging.
When the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic hit Myanmar, most of the workspaces and educational classes moved online. Thate Pan Hub initiated the online teaching classes where youth volunteers can teach basic principles of Artificial Intelligence and computer science to kids. The reason behind the initiative is “No child in Myanmar gets left behind in this age of technology”.  The initiative is operating as a non-profit and is supported by volunteers and donations as all classes are non-monetary. The program began with 117 students and it is now growing to over 500 students.
Despite all the efforts and innovative ideas Myanmar pathed through to build the country’s tech industry, the danger of transitioning backward into “the digital dark age” is threatening the country every day now.
Written by Zin Zar Yee Mon, Research Collaborator
Zin Zar graduated with a Master of Science in Transition Management from Justus-Liebig University in Germany. She is currently residing in Germany and preparing for a postgraduate study to expand her research interest. Zin Zar is from Myanmar and has worked on projects such as Private Sector Development and economic research in Myanmar.
 Myanmar Center for Responsible Business, ICT Sector-Wide Impact Assessment
 Mckinsey Global Institute,2017, Artificial Intelligence and South East Asia’s Future, Singapore Summit 2017
 Tan D., 2020, Agritech Startup Village Link Brings Precision Farming to Myanmar’s Agricultural and Rural Communities
 UNESCO, 2017, Newly launched UNESCO mobile app empower Myanmar’s agricultural sector with information
 The Nation, 2019, Greenovator leads the trend in Myanmar’s agri-technology
 Wood J., 2020, 3 Things to know about women in STEM, Weforum
 Staehelin K., 2019, Why women are driving Myanmar’s IT sector growth, Frontier Myanmar
 Myanmar Times, 2020, Let us all together shape the future of Myanmar children through computer science education
University of Computer Studies, Taungoo
Thate Pan Hub