The Role of Multinational Corporations in Fostering Socio-Economic Development in Least Developed Countries: The Case of Ooredoo in Myanmar

Anne Ingwar Jakobsen & Lea Olsgaard

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper examines the private sector’s role in instigating socio-economic development in least developed countries, explored through the perspective of a multinational corporation (MNC) providing a necessity good. In order to empirically investigate this, we employ an exemplary case of Ooredoo, a Qatari telecommunications company, recently granted a license to rollout a modern information and telecommunications infrastructure (ICT) in Myanmar. Accordingly, the paper illuminates how and to what extent Ooredoo has an impact on Myanmar’s socio-economic development. A comprehensive theoretical framework provides the foundation for a dynamic 360-degree perspective on Ooredoo’s potential socio-economic impact. Developmental impact is examined through a business perspective, taking a bottom of the pyramid approach. In order to adequately contextualize and identify impact areas, a framework addressing a country’s political, institutional and economic systems is employed. To illuminate how MNCs can impact these three systems, a combination of theories is utilized. The theoretical framework is operationalized through an exploratory qualitative case study design. The findings reveal that Ooredoo potentially impacts Myanmar through the following main activities: developing wide-reaching ICT infrastructure; filling institutional voids by providing leap-frog digitalized solutions; setting best-practices; engaging with and progressing institutional frameworks; training of locals and additional social engagements; distribution channel upgrading; capability building including demonstration effects; breaking monopoly and exerting competitive pressures. These activities constitute how Ooredoo potentially impacts development on five overall areas: Infrastructure, Corruption, Formalizing the Informal, Upgrading & Capability Building, and Competition. By impacting these five areas, Ooredoo potentially has a profound impact on Myanmar’s political, institutional and economic systems, resulting in an extensive overall socio-economic development impact.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages117