BANGKOK, 16 September 2022 – World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Manuela V. Ferro, met with the Minister of Finance, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, and Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, to discuss Thailand’s economic recovery challenges post-COVID-19 and World Bank support to Thailand’s development priorities.
During her first official visit on September 14, she noted the high vaccination rate and the successful country reopening and recovery strategy. With the Minister of Finance, they exchanged views on ongoing economic challenges linked to measures to combat inflation and the global rise in energy prices, as well as Thailand’s efforts to boost investment including in green areas such as electric vehicles. With the Minister of Transport, discussions focused on Thailand’s priorities as host of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on November 18-19, in transport infrastructure and regional connectivity in Southeast Asia and how the World Bank can support this agenda.
“Thailand’s high growth helped reduce poverty from 65 percent in 1988 to 9 percent in 2018,” said Manuela V. Ferro. “COVID and more recently high global energy and food prices and interest rate increases have made the global environment for sustaining growth more difficult, but the government of Thailand has managed these shocks well. We at the World Bank look forward to supporting Thailand’s economic recovery.”
Thailand’s economy is on a recovery path, supported by a stronger-than-expected rebound in private consumption and tourism, according to the World Bank’s latest Economic Monitor on Thailand. Although Thailand’s recovery is the slowest among major ASEAN countries, the economy still expanded by 2.4 percent in the first half of 2022, after growing 1.5 percent in 2021. The relaxation of travel policies in many countries is gradually giving a boost to tourism recovery. Thailand’s efforts to diversify its economy will help weather future shocks.
The World Bank has had a long relationship with the Government of Thailand for more than 70 years. Its first loan in 1950 helped improve Thailand’s transportation systems – including railways, ports, and highways – and financed irrigation projects that benefited farming families. Today, engagement in Thailand revolves around economic policy dialogue, technical assistance and implementation support on issues as diverse as sustained high economic growth, community development, climate change, education, infrastructure investment and regulatory reform to improve the business environment.