Giant US beverage company Coca-Cola is setting up business operations in Myanmar for the first time in six decades following the transformation of the country from decades of military rule to civilian régime heading towards the path to democracy.
The Atlanta, Georgia-based company will commence business operations in Myanmar as soon as the US issues a general license allowing American companies to invest in the country.
The US and other western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar (formerly Burma) for its decades of repression under a military junta.
Myanmar is one of the three countries where Coca-Cola is not doing business, according to Associated Press. The other two are Cuba and North Korea.
According to The Coca-Cola Company, its charitable arm The Coca-Cola Foundation will likewise make an initial US$3 million for job-creation and economic empowerment of women in Myanmar.
To carry on its activities in the country, the foundation has partnered with PACT, a non-governmental organization working to promote health, economic empowerment and food security in 26 developing countries, to support a program aimed at assisting small groups of women in their entrepreneurial efforts.
The Coca-Cola Company intends to make significant investments in Myanmar in the next 3-5 years. Initially though, the company will import Coca-Cola and other company-owned beverage products from neighboring countries where they have manufacturing facilities.
Investors from other countries have also started making plans for investing in Myanmar after their respective governments have likewise lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's democratic leader, who was recently elected member of Parliament, has been widely credited for democratic reforms in the country which led to the lifting of sanctions by many western countries.
Suu Kyi is a recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for her democratic crusade in her impoverished and military-ruled country.
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The military-backed civilian government which took power after the March 2010 elections, has surprised many western countries with its reformist actions which include the relaxation on media, labor reforms, release of political prisoners and liberalized rules on freedom of assembly.