ADB President Nakao Commends Thailand’s Economic Progress, Notes Potential for Future Growth
ADB President Takehiko Nakao meets Prime Minister of Thailand Prayuth Chan-ocha during a visit to Bangkok for the 5th Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion. Photo: ADB.
BANGKOK, THAILAND (19 December 2014) — The President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao, today met with Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee, and Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul to discuss Thailand’s recent economic performance and examine possible areas of further cooperation with ADB. He will also participate in the 5th Leaders Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).
Mr. Nakao noted that Thailand’s broad economic outlook was encouraging heading into 2015. Thailand’s economic growth had fluctuated in recent years as the country weathered the global financial crisis, severe floods, and domestic political tensions. With restored confidence, increased government spending, and expected improvement of major industrial economies, ADB projects growth to reach 4% in 2015, up from 1% in 2014.
“Due to Thailand’s strategic location in the GMS, broad industrial base and rich natural resources for agribusiness and tourism, it has the potential to reach high-income status through continued reform efforts and appropriate policies,” said Mr. Nakao. “Thailand’s economic performance is also crucial to the prospects of GMS countries."
Mr. Nakao highlighted remaining challenges to strong and inclusive growth. The education sector requires further reform to promote research and development and to supply the labor market with a high-quality and skilled workforce. He also stressed the importance of promoting good governance, including improving transparency and efficiency of state-owned enterprises, and measures against corruption. Social protection including the pension system should be strengthened to address growing inequality and to better serve a population that is among the fastest ageing in Southeast Asia.
Continued strong foreign direct investment and improved infrastructure are also essential for Thailand to realize its economic potential. Mr. Nakao said ADB is ready to further support Thailand in key areas such as infrastructure development, water resource management, education reform, financial inclusion and literacy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. ADB’s partnership with Thailand also aims to advance its links with neighboring countries through cross-border investments, trade facilitation, and financial cooperation.
Thailand has been a member of ADB since its inception in 1966. By the end of 2014, ADB has committed $6.4 billion to Thailand in loans, grants, and technical assistance.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totaled $21.0 billion, including cofinancing of $6.6 billion.