Last update: April 2014
Thailand has made an impressive transition from a low income country in the 1980s to an upper-middle income country by 2011. Poverty in Thailand has fallen steadily since the late 1980s. Over the last decade, poverty has been reduced from its recent peak of 42.6% (2000) to about 13.2% (2011). In the poorest rural northeast region of Thailand, the number of impoverished households dropped from 3.4% (1996) to less than 1.3% (2006-2009).
World Bank Group analytical work (investment climate surveys, Doing Business reports, the quarterly Thailand Economic Monitor and a range of health and education policy reports) have supported Thailand’s evidence-based, growth-promoting policies.
Thailand introduced its Universal Health Coverage Scheme in 2001 and has largely achieved its goal of providing access to affordable health care for all. Thailand’s poorest families have benefited from a declining trend in the incidence of ‘catastrophic health expenditures’ or out-of-pocket payments exceeding 10% of total household consumption expenditures. The incidence dropped from 6.8% (1996) to 2.8% (2008) among the poorest people in the program.
The World Bank Group works with the Government and the Ministry of Health in delivering analytic and advisory work identifying key challenges to the continuing sustainability of universal healthcare coverage and how to address these challenges, which include inequality and rising cost pressures.
Following the successful implementation of the World Bank Group’s $300 million flood relief program for Thailand in 2012, the IFC is continuing discussions with local banks to structure and offer climate change mitigation facilities and also potentially structured short term finance products.
Among the Southeast Asian countries, Thailand has implemented renewable energy tariffs, strengthening the renewable energy market (pdf) and allowing wind and solar investments to well exceed original targets. Thailand has also been making efforts to promote renewable energy in the heating, power, and transport sectors to diversify its fuel sources and enhance energy security. To identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvement, legislation in Thailand goes further than in neighboring countries in requiring large energy users to undertake energy audits and to submit energy efficiency action plans. The World Bank Group sees the energy intensity of the economy as one of the key challenges in the country, underscoring the importance of WBG support for investments in renewable energy across Thailand. IFC Advisory Services have also supported the Ministry of Energy in promoting renewable energy from the solar and wind sector.