[Country map of Burma]



Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Map references: Southeast Asia

total area: 678,500 sq km
land area: 657,740 sq km
comparative area: slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries: total 5,876 km, Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline: 1,930 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain: central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Natural resources: petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 49%
other: 34%

Irrigated land: 10,180 sq km (1989)

current issues: deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83; signed, but not ratified - Law of the Sea

Note: strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes


Population: 45,103,809 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36% (female 7,963,544; male 8,285,459)
15-64 years: 60% (female 13,478,211; male 13,404,987)
65 years and over: 4% (female 1,080,922; male 890,686) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.84% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 28.02 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 9.63 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 61.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 60.47 years
male: 58.38 years
female: 62.69 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.58 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese

Ethnic divisions: Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, other 5%

Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist beliefs 1%, other 2%

Languages: Burmese; minority ethnic groups have their own languages

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990 est.)
total population: 81%
male: 89%
female: 72%

Labor force: 16.007 million (1992)
by occupation: agriculture 65.2%, industry 14.3%, trade 10.1%, government 6.3%, other 4.1% (FY88/89 est.)


conventional long form: Union of Burma
conventional short form: Burma
local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar)
local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma

Digraph: BM

Type: military regime

Capital: Rangoon (regime refers to the capital as Yangon)

Administrative divisions: 7 divisions* (yin-mya, singular - yin) and 7 states (pyine-mya, singular - pyine); Chin State, Ayeyarwady*, Bago*, Kachin State, Kayin State, Kayah State, Magway*, Mandalay*, Mon State, Rakhine State, Sagaing*, Shan State, Tanintharyi*, Yangon*

Independence: 4 January 1948 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 4 January (1948)

Constitution: 3 January 1974 (suspended since 18 September 1988); National Convention started on 9 January 1993 to draft a new constitution; chapter headings and three of 15 sections have been approved

Legal system: has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state and head of government: Chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992)
State Law and Order Restoration Council: military junta which assumed power 18 September 1988

Legislative branch:
People's Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw): election last held 27 May 1990, but Assembly never convened; results - NLD 80%; seats - (485 total) NLD 396, the regime-favored NUP 10, other 79; was dissolved after the coup of 18 September 1988

Judicial branch: limited; remnants of the British-era legal system in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive

Political parties and leaders: Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), THAN AUNG, Secretary; National Unity Party (NUP; proregime), THA KYAW; National League for Democracy (NLD), U AUNG SHWE; and eight other minor legal parties

Other political or pressure groups: National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), headed by the elected prime minister SEIN WIN (consists of individuals legitimately elected to Parliament but not recognized by the military regime; the group fled to a border area and joined with insurgents in December 1990 to form a parallel government; Kachin Independence Army (KIA); United Wa State Army (UWSA); Karen National Union (KNU); several Shan factions, including the Mong Tai Army (MTA); All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF)


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador U THAUNG
chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-9044, 9045
consulate(s) general: New York

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Marilyn A. MEYERS
embassy: 581 Merchant Street, Rangoon (GPO 521)
mailing address: American Embassy, Box B, APO AP 96546
telephone: [95] (1) 82055, 82182 (operator assistance required)
FAX: [95] (1) 80409

Flag: red with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing, all in white, 14 five-pointed stars encircling a cogwheel containing a stalk of rice; the 14 stars represent the 14 administrative divisions


Overview: Burma has a mixed economy with about 75% private activity, mainly in agriculture, light industry, and transport, and with about 25% state-controlled activity, mainly in energy, heavy industry, and foreign trade. Government policy in the last six years, 1989-94, has aimed at revitalizing the economy after four decades of tight central planning. Thus, private activity has markedly increased; foreign investment has been encouraged, so far with moderate success; and efforts continue to increase the efficiency of state enterprises. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the volume of black market trade. A major ongoing problem is the failure to achieve monetary and fiscal stability. Although Burma remains a poor Asian country, its rich resources furnish the potential for substantial long-term increases in income, exports, and living standards.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $41.4 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 6.4% (1994)

National product per capita: $930 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 38% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $4.4 billion
expenditures: $6.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY93/94 est.)

Exports: $674 million (FY93/94 est.)
commodities: pulses and beans, teak, rice, hardwood
partners: Singapore, China, Thailand, India, Hong Kong

Imports: $1.2 billion (FY93/94 est.)
commodities: machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, food products
partners: Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia

External debt: $5.4 billion (FY93/94 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 4.9% (FY92/93 est.); accounts for 10% of GDP

capacity: 1,100,000 kW
production: 2.6 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 55 kWh (1993)

Industries: agricultural processing; textiles and footwear; wood and wood products; petroleum refining; mining of copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer

Agriculture: accounts for 65% of GDP and 65% of employment (including fishing, animal husbandry, and forestry); self-sufficient in food; principal crops - paddy rice, corn, oilseed, sugarcane, pulses; world's largest stand of hardwood trees; rice and timber account for 55% of export revenues

Illicit drugs: world's largest illicit producer of opium (2,030 metric tons in 1994 - dropped 21% due to regional drought in 1994) and minor producer of cannabis for the international drug trade; opium production continues to be almost double since the collapse of Rangoon's antinarcotic programs; growing role in amphetamine production for regional consumption

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $158 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $3.9 billion; Communist countries (1970-89), $424 million

Currency: 1 kyat (K) = 100 pyas

Exchange rates: kyats (K) per US$1 - 5.8640 (January 1995), 5.9749 (1994), 6.1570 (1993), 6.1045 (1992), 6.2837 (1991), 6.3386 (1990); unofficial - 120

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


total: 3,991 km (3,878 km common carrier lines, 113 km industrial lines)
standard gauge: 3,878 km 1.435-m gauge
other: 113 km NA-m gauge

total: 27,000 km
paved: bituminous 3,200 km
unpaved: gravel, improved earth 17,700 km; unimproved earth 6,100 km

Inland waterways: 12,800 km; 3,200 km navigable by large commercial vessels

Pipelines: crude oil 1,343 km; natural gas 330 km

Ports: Bassein, Bhamo, Chauk, Mandalay, Moulmein, Myitkyina, Rangoon, Sittwe, Tavoy

Merchant marine:
total: 49 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 638,297 GRT/884,492 DWT
ships by type: bulk 19, cargo 15, chemical tanker 1, container 2, oil tanker 3, passenger-cargo 3, refrigerated cargo 4, vehicle carrier 2

total: 80
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 11
with paved runways under 914 m: 33
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 5
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 17


Telephone system: 53,000 telephones (1986); meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government; international service is good
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) earth station

broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 0 (1985)
radios: NA
note: radiobroadcast coverage is limited to the most populous areas

broadcast stations: 1 (1985)
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 11,553,094; females age 15-49 11,463,189; males fit for military service 6,180,091; females fit for military service 6,116,421; males reach military age (18) annually 457,445 (1995 est.); females reach military age (18) annually 441,628 (1995 est.)
note: both sexes liable for military service

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP