Thailand Reaches out to Africa
In the recent years, Thailand initiated a solid diplomatic chapter that focuses on Africa. They launched the Thai-Africa Initiative in 2013 to increase involvement beyond Thailand’s Asian neighbors. This project was part of their “Look West Policy”.
Last year, they redefined this policy in order to prioritize development corporations and it will be done based on mutual interests of the two. The policy encourages trust and equality between the Thailand and Africa. They also entered into a partnership focusing on Sustainable Development.
Some may be wondering why Thailand would be interested in expanding their engagement with Africa. There are several reasons.
Thailand’s leaders noted that the African continent has been developing fast and has been rapidly growing economically. This makes Africa an attractive market for Thai products and investments. It’s about taking opportunities for several trade and investment projects.
Thailand is currently the biggest trader investor in Africa among the ASEAN countries. These new efforts will pave the way for many Thai organizations including their energy sector, travel and leisure companies, and many restaurant and resort owners to go into business with African countries. It’s a great way to foster enhanced connectivity which is crucial for increasing the trade relations between the two. It will also help create more intercultural encounters in order for them to have more collaborations.
Thailand is quite confident about their efforts to reach out to Africa and the future that they predict in doing so. Even as other Asian countries are also doing the same. For them to be successful, they increased their official presence in Africa by putting more embassies and honorary consulates.
Today, Thailand has embassies in place in Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, and other parts of the continent. There is also a consulate in Madagascar and honorary consulates in many other regions. They have plans of adding more. This is part of their efforts to create a more inclusive diplomacy. Their ministry of foreign affairs is working toward having meeting more regularly with African diplomats.
It does not really come as a surprise that Thailand is putting more efforts to enhance their strategic partnership with Africa. Doing so could become mutually meaningful both for Thailand and African countries in terms of collaboration in the long run. Thailand can offer assistance in Africa’s human resources especially in the agricultural sector. They could also provide scholarships for higher education students from Africa.