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Myanmar cronies still pull the strings as economy creaks open

Labourers work at a low-cost housing construction site on the outskirts of YangonHotels, harbours or mines, Myanmar’s big-ticket industries are still in the grip of military-linked tycoons, who will remain gatekeepers to the country’s opening market whoever wins Sunday’s crunch polls. The globe’s fourth fastest-growing economy, according to the World Bank, is a tantalising prospect to international investors but sections of it are firmly off-limits. “Cronies are the main winners,” says Sean Turnell, an expert on Myanmar’s economy who has advised Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).

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