Ninety-five per cent of adults in Myanmar live on under US$10 (S$12.60) a day, with 10 per cent preferring to save money in gold or cash, according to a recent survey.
The Making Access Possible (MAP) survey was based on a sample of 5,100 people from all over the country, including interviews done last year.
"Financial services are at a very low level in Myanmar and this is impacting the country's ability to harness the capital available for national development. Significant effort is required to move the country towards more formal financial services," said Henri Dommel, Director Inclusive Finance at UNCDF.
Due to a cash-based culture, the cost of starting a business in Myanmar is high. Numerous banking firms, obstacles to get loans, and burdensome rules and regulation, all encourage informal money-lending.
The survey aims at encouraging the government, investors and international donors to focus on spreading micro-finance services to areas around the country.
It says that Myanmar's current monetary services do not match the country's needs.
"If there is well-functioning financial system, citizens can save and this would help the country's development," the survey advised.