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Thai prime minister’s visit expected to spur investment

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By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Thursday, August 1  2013 at  01:00

In Summary

Ms Yingluck Shinawatra will be jetting in the country anytime today accompanied by several members of the Thai Royal government and a business delegation to explore the country’s investment opportunities. Ms Shinawatra’s visit to Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda is reportedly aimed at strengthen economic ties between African countries and Thailand.

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Kampala

The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra will be jetting in the country anytime today for an official state visit extended to her by President Museveni. She will reportedly be accompanied by several other members of the Thai Royal government and a business delegation to explore the country’s investment opportunities.

According to State House statement, Ms Shinawatra’s African tour will see her visit Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda to strengthen economic ties between African countries and Thailand.

Ms Shinawatra’s who also doubles as the Minister of Defence, will hold a meeting with President Museveni and later have another audience, where technocrats of both countries—Uganda and Thailand will be part of the engagement.

Last year President Museveni was in Thailand on an official visit during which he discussed several bilateral and regional issues, especially trade, investment and technical cooperation. According to the statement, together with his counterpart, they signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of bilateral consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the two countries.

Although there is not much in terms of trade and investment between the two countries, government technocrats believe that the Thai investors can invest in resources like mineral deposits, agro-processing, tourism, and manufacturing.

Other sectors the government is rooting for include: education, especially in the technical and vocational sector, real estate, textile and cotton industries, ICT, banking, insurance services, mortgage and financing.

Oil exploration
l Uganda’s burgeoning oil sector is another preferable investment for the Thai investors. Commercial deposits of 3.5 billion barrels have been announced in the Albertine Graben which, has been only explored to a small capacity of 40 percent. The next round of licensing for 13 oil exploration blocs is in the pipeline following the recent signing of the 2012 Petroleum and Exploration Act which lifted a seven year’s moratorium on licensing new exploration areas. The government through the Petroleum Exploration and Production is set to put out notice to the public for companies on this exciting round of licensing. Local content in the oil sector equally remains an untapped area for investments.

The country’s economy has great potential as it has several major resources:
l Mineral deposits.
l Fertile land and regular rainfall.
l The country has lots of friendly people too.
l There are lots of quality medical facilities, first class hotels, restaurants, resorts and beaches and entertainment facilities can be found here.
l Political stability is the main success of business in Uganda.
l Agriculture continues to dominate the business with coffee bringing at least 80 per cent of its export earnings.
l Manufacturing sector is also gaining success. Investment can be in real estate.
l There is an opportunity in construction and building opportunities and for low cost housing in the country’s urban areas.
l Investment prospect exist in textile and cotton industries.
l Foods and beverage sector provides opportunity too.
l Education sector in Uganda, especially the technical and vocational sector proves to be a good business. Given Uganda’s climate and political stability there is huge growth in banking, insurance services, mortgage and financing.

Thailand at a glance

Exports
$105 billion
l Economy started to recover in 1999, expanding 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000, thanks largely to strong exports.
Exports an increasing value of over $105 billion worth of goods and services annually.

Major exports
6.5 million tonnes
l Major exports include Thai rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewellery, cars, computers and electrical appliances. Is the world’s no.1 exporter of rice, exporting more than 6.5 million tonnes of milled rice annually.
l Prostitution and sex tourism: It is believed that at least 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex trade.

Gross Domestic Product
$602 billion
l Thailand has a GDP worth $602 billion (on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis). This classifies Thailand as the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

labour force
40%
l Forty-nine % of Thailand’s labour force is employed in agriculture.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com