Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has a Saturday free of official schedule before she will pay an official visit to Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda from Sunday to August 2 to boost bilateral trade, cooperation and investment ties.
The trip aims to tighten diplomatic and economic strategies with the East African countries ahead of a high-level meeting of Thai and African executives in Thailand in February.
Mozambique is rich in natural resources but still lags behind in development. The country is eyeing Thailand as a development model and hoping to tap Thai expertise in agriculture, tourism and education.
Yingluck is seeking closer cooperation with the country in the energy sector. Thailand’s PTT has become a major shareholder of Africa’s Hope Energy and is interested in buying more gas from Mozambique, which in turn imports 200,000 tonnes of Thai rice per year.
Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam has a large Indian Ocean port which is expected to form a trade route with Myanmar’s Dawei port, currently under construction, to transport goods to Thailand.
Uganda, meanwhile, is being eyed by Thai businesses as a promising destination for investment in processed agricultural products. Uganda’s Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi recently visited Thailand.