Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said that Thailand is committed to enhancing trade and investment cooperation with Africa. There are a number of existing regional institutions and arrangements for promoting this cooperation.
In his statement at the Asian-African Summit on 22 April 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Prime Minister said that ASEAN, a cornerstone of Thai foreign policy, is a key organization that can play an important role. Moreover, ASEAN-led frameworks, such as the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, can help elevate economic cooperation between Asia and Africa to greater heights.
He said, "Asia and Africa are stronger when are linked politically and economically. Today, Asia accounts for 26% of Africa’s trade flows, which is beyond expectations from 10 years ago. Allow me to give an example of how connectivity plays its role. Eight major airlines link twenty-eight Asian and African cities; we are more connected today than ever.
"History has proven that we can overcome our challenges by working together. Closer relations in all areas of common interest will support the strengthening of Asia and Africa. Therefore, both regions should also commit to advancing and promoting this partnership to elevate our cooperation and our relations so that concrete results can be achieved.
"The vibrant partnership between our two continents will help shape the world as never before. We should not only sustain this momentum; we should take steps to bring our engagement to the next level. That is what we are doing today.”
The Prime Minister said that as Southeast Asia is moving toward the establishment of an ASEAN Community, socio-cultural cooperation is another important area as it promotes people-to-people contact and thereby better understanding and good will between the peoples of both regions.
He said, "Over the past 10 years, Thailand has constantly contributed to growth in both regions. Thailand’s Official Development Assistance extended to our partners has doubled for Asia, and has increased 10 fold for Africa. This is a part of the partnerships that Thailand offers.
The Prime Minister also said that he was honored to have opportunity to mention the Sufficiency Economy philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. "The philosophy is a fundamental principle of Thai values, which has also been internationally acknowledged, and has guided Thailand towards the goal of sustainable development.”
He said, "We are ready to share our experiences with this approach with our international friends. There is broad agreement that stability and prosperity for Asia and Africa are in the interests of Thailand as well as the region.
"Today Africa is a continent of many opportunities. It contains many of the fastest growing economies in the world, which continue to expand. Governments in Africa have also achieved many reforms, which has resulted in a record level of foreign investment and therefore the creation of jobs and opportunities for the people. "Thailand is determined to be a partner in Africa’s success. Already, The Royal Thai Government’s Thai-Africa Initiative is underway. It demonstrates our commitment in fostering stronger multi-dimensional ties between Thailand and Africa.”