Comment la junte birmane pille le budget de l'Etat

SYDNEY – La Birmanie qui fut un temps le pays le plus riche d'Asie du Sud-Est a sombré dans la misère, avec une économie ravagée par près de 50 ans de gestion désastreuse sous la conduite des militaires. Quand elle arrive en tête de classement, c'est comme l'un des pays les plus corrompus, le pays qui a le plus mauvais système de santé et en matière d'éducation le budget le plus faible de la planète - des exemples qui illustrent la souffrance du peuple birman.

Néanmoins, au cours des dernières années, la Birmanie est apparue comme un producteur d'énergie important en Asie du Sud-Est. Grâce à d'importants gisements de gaz naturel offshore, elle bénéficie de gains substantiels en devises étrangères. Actuellement, la majeure partie de ces revenus (un milliard à un milliard et de demi de dollars par an, selon la fluctuation des prix) vient de Thaïlande. Le gaz naturel de Birmanie tiré des réserves à terre du Golfe de Martaban génère 20% de la fourniture en électricité de Bangkok.

Si tout se passe bien, les nouvelles réserves découvertes récemment dans le Golfe du Bengale en fourniront une quantité encore plus importante à la province chinoise du Yunnan. Il faudra construire un pipeline qui traversera toute la Birmanie pour acheminer le gaz jusque là. Ce projet difficile est controversé. Mais n'étant soumis à aucune norme en termes de droit du travail et de respect de l'environnement, il ne fait guère de doute qu'il va être mis en oeuvre.

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