Owing to rapid growth of its gross domestic product, Thailand — currently the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia — has been able to significantly reduce poverty levels and increase the overall standard living in the country.
Severe flooding in 2011 and persistent political unrest in the capital, however, have slowed down growth. And although poverty levels are down, there remain pockets of destitution. The northeastern region, for example, is home to 40 percent of Thailand’s poorest people. Agriculture is the main driver of the remote and rural region’s economy. Environmental degradation and an aging population are also major concerns.
The Asian Development Bank closely aligns its 2013-2016 country partnership strategy with Thailand’s medium and long-term development goals and priorities. Compared with previous strategies, however, the current CPS emphasizes the “finance ++” approach, which combines finance with leverage and knowledge. ADB believes this approach would increase flexibility in its support for Thailand, which currently receives a mix of public and private sector loans.
Through this more flexible approach, ADB aims to promote productivity and competitiveness, regional equity and inclusive growth, environmentally sustainable development, and regional cooperation and integration in Thailand.