PM visits African countries to boost ties, investment


BANGKOK, July 28 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday started her official visit to Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda to strengthen ties and boost trade and investment.

The prime minister, who is also the defence minister, said before leaving for her visit to African countries from July 28 to August 2, that Africa is a region with high potential for growth, abundant natural gas and mineral resources.

Mozambique has precious gems and Thailand can exchange its craft skills and technology to bolster investment with this African country.

Tanzania is rich in natural gas and mineral resources while wildlife conservation and ecotourism will be on the agenda during talks with this country, while Thailand will exchange academic knowledge in agriculture and fisheries with Uganda.

Besides strengthening trade and investment ties, her visit is aimed at exchanging knowledge in science, agriculture, fishery, and public health, Ms Yingluck said.

Regarding the gem industry, she said the trip will give an opportunity for Thai businesspeople to see potential investment. Initially, the cabinet has agreed to lift duty on imported gems and jewelry products that will be sold at the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair this year. In the future, other tax-related measures will be discussed to promote the industry.

The visit is an initial step to developing relations between Thailand and African countries. Farming goods and energy resources will be discussed, paving the way for food and energy security cooperation in the future, Ms Yingluck said.

The prime minister also led a 50-strong delegation of Thai businesspeople from the gem, construction, automotive, mining and alternative energy industries to join her trip to the African nations.