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World Bank's IFC organizes training to boost gender diversity with Myanmar Companies Law

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Myanmar Institute of Directors (MIoD) have organized a series of training and events to help Myanmar companies improve financial governance and reporting, adopt other effective governance practices, and boost gender diversity on boards, with the new Myanmar Companies Law now in effect.


IFC Last Updated at 07 Aug 2018, 18:08 IST Myanmar
World Bank's IFC organizes training to boost gender diversity with Myanmar Companies Law
  • The new law, which came into effect on August 1, sets more stringent director duties. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Myanmar Institute of Directors (MIoD) have organized a series of training and events to help Myanmar companies improve financial governance and reporting, adopt other effective governance practices, and boost gender diversity on boards, with the new Myanmar Companies Law now in effect.

The new law, which came into effect on August 1, sets more stringent director duties and other corporate governance requirements while relaxing foreign ownership in Myanmar companies, with the aim of leveling the playing field for international investors. More than 40 Myanmar directors and executives attended two workshops on July 30 and August 1, which were part of MIoD's Learning Series to provide quality board training and raise market awareness about important governance topics.

The workshops provided a deep dive into the fundamentals of the corporate governance framework to help directors and executives develop a plan for implementing effective governance practices within their companies. They also aimed to sharpen participants' financial governance skills to mitigate risks and allowed board members and senior executives to share their experiences.

"These workshops help address the growing needs of Myanmar companies for corporate governance training as they brace for changes under the new Companies Law," said U Aung Zaw Naing, MIoD Board Chairman and Group CEO of Shwe Taung. "Helping company executives gain a deeper understanding of key financial issues will enable them to spot red flags and further strengthen risk management, while the Corporate Governance Action Planning Workshop was a great opportunity for them to develop a roadmap for effective governance."

The workshops were part of IFC and MIoD's two-year cooperation agreement. On August 2, IFC organized a train-the-trainer workshop to boost the capacity of MIoD's cadre of corporate governance trainers who will, in turn, train more Myanmar directors and executives. Under the agreement, IFC will also help MIoD develop and deliver corporate governance training, seminars, conferences, and publications.

A recent IFC study revealed that companies with top corporate governance scores enjoyed lower credit risks and their return-on-equity was almost three times higher than that of companies with the lowest governance scores. Numerous studies have shown that good corporate governance has a positive impact on firm performance and access to finance. Investors were willing to pay a premium of up to 40 percent for well-governed companies, according to a 2001 study by management consultancy McKinsey.

"Myanmar corporates urgently need to strengthen their corporate governance practices to bring themselves in line with their regional peers and attract foreign capital," said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand. "To achieve this, IFC is keen to work with MIoD in developing top-quality trainers as well as corporate governance training programs for Myanmar directors and executives. These workshops are an exciting first step."

Around the world, improving gender diversity on boards has been gaining prominence as studies show that boards with both men and women are better at generating new ideas, verifying the integrity of audit information, and ensuring rule compliance to avoid conflicts of interest.

To raise awareness of this global trend, MIoD and the Women Corporate Directors Myanmar Chapter jointly organized a July 31 interactive workshop and an August 3 lunch event on the topic of women on boards and business leadership, which attracted over 50 participants. They discussed the gender gap in their organizations and learned tools and techniques to catalyze change.

"Myanmar companies can certainly benefit from having more women on boards, which have been proven to improve company financial performance and risk management," said Ma Cherry Trivedi, Co-chair of the Women Corporate Directors Myanmar Chapter.


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