PKG IAP Fellowships: Yunus Sevilmi Part IV
Reflecting on the Myanmar Coup
Watching the coup in Myanmar unfold earlier this month brought us at Almond pain, but served as reminder of the importance of our mission.
On Feb 1st 2021, the Burmese military began arresting the government officials and effectively seized control of the country. The financial system and internet were intermittently shut down as the citizens and the international community tried to make sense of what was going on. We lost communications with our team in Myanmar.
Several weeks after the coup, daily protests against the military government ensue, most businesses remain closed and the internet access is intermittent and unreliable. Cash shortages are reported as many ATMs are either offline or overdrawn. A newly introduced cybersecurity bill placed a burden on the telecommunication companies in terms of storing data and giving access to the government, prompting concerns on privacy and freedom of speech and drawing condemnation from the local tech companies.
Given the rapidly evolving political situation and the unreliability in the financial and communications networks, we took the hard decision to delay our launch in Myanmar. Instead, we decided to prioritize rolling out our platform initially in the other countries in the region. In the meantime, we continue to make progress on our ongoing tech integrations with the financial institutions in Myanmar, and will add Myanmar to our countries we serve once the political stability is reestablished.
As Almond Finance we support Burmese people’s right to self determination, freedom of speech and access to information. Having had daily contact with Myanmar since 2019
and gotten to know individuals and the culture as a whole, we share the Burmese people’s pain.
After what may seem like a step back, we are hopeful that democracy will prevail just as it has before.
Finally, these recent events have highlighted Almond’s vision of interconnected financial systems with built in redundancies being not only better but necessary. A network of digital wallets with integrations to international financial institutions would allow users to easily move and have access to their funds every day as well as in times of crises. Driven by this mission, we continue to serve the people of Myanmar and all financially excluded communities.
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