Thailand has been experiencing a slowdown of economic growth since 2006. Yet, its causes are still undetermined. The often-cited reason, drawn from economic data, is a lack of productivity improvements in the private sector. But as firm-level panel data on Thai economic activity is still at an early stage of development, it is difficult to pinpoint any clear conclusions. The Thai government is launching policies to address tensions concerning productivity as well as to boost short-to-medium-term economic growth. The most recent measure, ‘Thailand 4.0’, represents a combination of promoting industrial transformation and establishing an economic corridor in eastern Thailand.
What is Thailand 4.0?
Thailand 4.0 is an economic model that aims to unlock the country from several economic challenges resulting from past economic development models which place emphasis on agriculture (Thailand 1.0), light industry (Thailand 2.0), and advanced industry (Thailand 3.0). These challenges include “a middle income trap”, “an inequality trap”, and “an imbalanced trap”.
Four Objectives of Thailand 4.0
1. Economic Prosperity: to create a value-based economy that is driven by innovation, technology and creativity. The model aims to increase Research and Development (“R&D”) expenditure to 4% of GDP, increase economic growth rate to full capacity rate of 5-6% within 5 years, and increase national income per capita from 5,470 USD in 2014 to 15,000 USD by 2032.
2. Social Well-being: to create a society that moves forward without leaving anyone behind (inclusive society) through realization of the full potential of all members of society. The goals are to reduce social disparity from 0.465 in 2013 to 0.36 in 2032, completely transform to social welfare system within 20 years and develop at least 20,000 households into “Smart Farmers” within 5 years.
3. Raising Human Values: to transform Thais into “Competent human beings in the 21sth Century” and “Thais 4.0 in the first world. Measures under Thailand 4.0 will raise Thailand HDI from 0.722 to 0.8 or the top 50 countries within 10 years, ensure that at least 5 Thai universities are ranked amongst the world’s top 100 higher education institution within 20 years.
4. Environmental Protection: to become a livable society that possesses an economic system capable of adjusting to climate change and low carbon society. The targets are to develop at least 10 cities into the world’s most livable cities, reduce terrorism risk, and increase the proportion