Top Stories : Remarks by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai  Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand  at the Reception of the Africa Day 2017  24th May 2017, at 18.30 hrs.  Anantara Siam Hotel, Bangkok News

Top Stories : Remarks by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand at the Reception of the Africa Day 2017 24th May 2017, at 18.30 hrs. Anantara Siam Hotel, Bangkok

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand

at the Reception of the Africa Day 2017

24th May 2017, at 18.30 hrs.

Anantara Siam Hotel, Bangkok

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Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is an honour to be here with you all today and I would like to thank
His Excellency Mr. Abdelilah EL HOUSNI, Ambassador of Morocco to Thailand and Dean of the African Ambassadors in Thailand, for this very cordial invitation. On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the Thai people, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincerest congratulations and warmest greetings to all of our African colleagues and friends in Thailand and around the world, on this auspicious occasion of commemoration of the Africa Day on 25 May 2017.

 

Our gathering today is special. It marks not only the 54th Anniversary of the formation of the African Union (AU), formerly known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), but also the very first time that this commemorative event takes place in Thailand. We are very pleased to learn that Morocco has rejoined the AU once again earlier this year. We are therefore delighted to join hands in celebrating this important day for the African community; the day which represents the symbol of striving for independence, development and economic progress of her peoples.

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

African region is developing rapidly with growth rates expected to remain robust in all parts of the continent. According to the World Bank, the economies of Ethiopia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are among the world’s five fast-growing economics forecasted to expand by 8 to 9 percent within the next three years. Abundant resources and diverse socio-cultural backgrounds will further help transform Africa into a continent of greater affluences for her peoples and
the world.

 

Having said that, there have been misconceptions about Africa. However, Thailand has always had confidence in the prospects of Africa and the future it beholds. Several indications speak for themselves.

 

Thailand-Africa Relations

Thailand and African nations have always enjoyed long-standing and friendly relations enriched by cooperation towards regional peace and stability, strengthening economic ties, technical cooperation and mutual support in international fora. Thailand’s diplomatic relations have reached more than five decades anniversaries with a number of countries, namely, Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia. This year also marks the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Thailand and Kenya.

 

 The recent opening of the Royal Thai Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique last year, being our eighth foreign mission in the African continent along with twelve Thai honourary consulates across the continent reflects our continued optimism about the prospects in Africa. Meanwhile, the recent opening of the Embassies of The Gambia and the Sudan in Bangkok, being the seventh and eighth African embassies, along with thirty African honourary consulates in Bangkok is a testament of Africa’s confidence in Thailand.

 

Thai-Africa Partnership for Sustainable Development

Thailand wishes to reconfirm our intention to elevate partnership with the African countries, especially in the areas of development cooperation, economic cooperation, and cooperation in the multilateral arena, as had been expressed by the Prime Minister of Thailand at the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta two years ago (April 2015). Now, we have redefined our cooperation on the basis of trust, equality and mutual interests under the policy of “Thailand-Africa Partnership for Sustainable Development.”

 

Through the Thailand-Africa Partnership for Sustainable Development, Thailand stands ready to share our home-grown sustainable development approach, guided by His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy or SEP and our best practices in such areas as public health, agriculture and human resources development towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the AU Agenda 2063.

 

We believe that the SEP can be adapted and applied in different countries and in a number of economic sectors. Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand through Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) has already accounted for 21 countries identified as “Friends of SEP” through projects provided under the initiatives of “SEP for SDGs Partnership” and “SEP for SDGs Youth Partnership”. So far Thailand has already initiated SEP projects in Lesotho and Swaziland. This year we have established “SEP Community Development Models” in Mozambique and Senegal. We also look forward to having more potential partners in Africa under this framework.

 

Economic Cooperation

         Despite geographical distance with Thailand, Africa is becoming our important economic partner. The trade volume expanded by 23 percent in the last decade to reach USD 8.2 billion in 2016 and currently Thailand is ASEAN’s biggest trader with Africa and the biggest supplier of rice to this continent.
With our strategic location in Asia, Thailand believes that strengthening economic cooperation between Thailand and our African counterparts will further drive the economic prosperity of our two regions.

 

           In terms of investment, Thailand is currently ASEAN’s third largest investor in Africa. Nowadays several leading Thai companies have already invested in the region. Major areas of Thai investments in Africa include energy sector by PTT Exploration and Production in Algeria and Mozambique, processed fishery products by Thai Union Group in Ghana and Seychelles, infrastructure development by Italian Thai Development in Mozambique,
2 hotels by Dusit Group in Kenya and Egypt and 29 hotels by Minor Group in Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia, automotive parts in South Africa and SMEs such as hundreds of Thai restaurants and spas, mostly in South Africa.

 

         Enabling trade and investment relations bring social engagement between Thailand and Africa closer, especially people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges, and thanks to growing air connectivity services between the two regions. Direct flights operated by Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air and Kenya Airways help promote tourism, medical tourism as well as trade and investment opportunities. Last year, nearly 171,962 African visitors have visited Thailand and there have been increasing numbers of Thai visitors to Africa.

 

Along this line, it is important to promote a better understanding and create awareness among the Thai public of the great potentials and opportunities of Africa. In this regard, from 17-19 July this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with African Embassies and airlines in Bangkok as well as the Thai private and public agencies concerned will organise a special event entitled “The Colours of Africa: Opportunity, Friendship and Cooperation”.
The activities will include, among others, a seminar on trade and investment opportunity in Arica, African art and cultural shows, a showcase of African trade, investment and tourism and exhibition on sustainable development cooperation between Thailand and Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand and Africa in the Multilateral Cooperation

While Africa is undergoing profound change in political, social and economic reforms, it has been playing a significant and growing role in the world affairs. I wish to congratulate former Ethiopian Foreign and Health Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was elected yesterday as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization, the first ever African national to head the WHO. Thailand stands ready to share with our African counterparts the success of our Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme. In addition, as the Chair of the Foreign Policy and Global Health (FPGH) initiative in 2017, we are working closely with FPGH members, including South Africa and Senegal, to use diplomacy to push forward the global health agenda.

 

Prior to this, South Africa took the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 in New York, one year before Thailand, in 2015.  It was during a timely moment in the history of the world’s development agenda where global leaders agreed to adopt and implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

In celebrating Africa’s achievements today, I wish to reiterate that the future of Thailand and Africa relations has never been as bright as it is right now. We both also share our common aspirations and objective in the global agenda.

 

Once again, I would like to congratulate everyone on Africa Day and Happy 54th Anniversary of the African Union!

 

Thank you.

 

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