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Myanmar is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia bordered by Laos, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, and India. One third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres (1,200 miles) forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Myanmar's population of over 60 million makes it the world's 24th most populous country and, at 676,578 square kilometres (261,227 sq mi), it is the world's 40th largest country and the second largest in Southeast Asia.

For most of its independent years, the country has been engrossed in rampant ethnic strife and a myriad of Myanmar's ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world's longest-running unresolved civil wars. During this time, the United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country. In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was installed. Although the military retains enormous influence through the constitution that was ratified in 2008, it has taken steps toward relinquishing control of the government.

Myanmar is a country rich in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources. In 2011, its GDP stood at US$53.14 billion and was estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 5.5%. Despite good economic growth, it is believed that Myanmar's economic potential won't be easily achieved due to the nation's lack of development. As of 2013, according to the Human Development Index (HDI), Myanmar has one of the lowest levels of human development in the world.

Myanmar has a population of about 56 million. Population figures are rough estimates because the last partial census, conducted by the Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs under the control of the military junta, was taken in 1983. There are over 53.42 million Buddhists, over 2.98 million Christians, over 2.27 million Muslims, over 300,000 Hindus and over 790,000 of those who believe in other religions in the country, according to an answer by Union Minister at Myanmar Parliament on 8 September 2011.

Climate
Limestone landscape of Mon StateMuch of the country lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia, with its coastal regions receiving over 5,000 mm (196.9 in) of rain annually. Annual rainfall in the delta region is approximately 2,500 mm (98.4 in), while average annual rainfall in the Dry Zone, which is located in central Myanmar, is less than 1,000 mm (39.4 in). Northern regions of the country are the coolest, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). Coastal and delta regions have an average maximum temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F).

Religion
Many religions are practised in Myanmar. Religious edifices and orders have been in existence for many years. Festivals can be held on a grand scale. The Christian and Muslim populations do, however, face religious persecution and it is hard, if not impossible, for non-Buddhists to join the army or get government jobs, the main route to success in the country. Such persecution and targeting of civilians is particularly notable in Eastern Myanmar, where over 3000 villages have been destroyed in the past ten years. More than 200,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh over the last 20 years to escape persecution.

Economy
The country is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation. The lack of an educated workforce skilled in modern technology contributes to the growing problems of the economy. The country lacks adequate infrastructure. Goods travel primarily across the Thai border (where most illegal drugs are exported) and along the Irrawaddy River. Railways are old and rudimentary, with few repairs since their construction in the late 19th century. Highways are normally unpaved, except in the major cities. Energy shortages are common throughout the country including in Yangon and only 25% of the country's population has electricity. The military government has the majority stakeholder position in all of the major industrial corporations of the country (from oil production and consumer goods to transportation and tourism).The national currency is Kyat. Inflation averaged 30.1% between 2005 and 2007. Inflation is a serious problem for the economy. In 2010–2011, Bangladesh exported products worth $9.65 million to Myanmar against its import of $179 million. The annual import of medicine and medical equipment to Burma during the 2000s was 160 million USD.

In recent years, both China and India have attempted to strengthen ties with the government for economic benefit. Many nations, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union, have imposed investment and trade sanctions on Burma. The United States and European Union eased most of their sanctions in 2012. Foreign investment comes primarily from China, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, India, and Thailand.

 


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