Accelerating the roll-out of digital and disruptive technologies while promoting a circular economy approach in key industries could generate up to US$3.4 billion per year through investment flows, savings and revenues for Thailand, according to a new World Bank Group report launched on Tuesday.
Thailand Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD), a joint report by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC), said the country needed to foster a new innovation-led growth model while addressing existing investment constraints to create better jobs and achieve its goal of becoming a high-income country.
The report found that accelerating the adoption of digital technology could bring in an estimated additional capital flow of $1.8 billion annually.
Most of it would come from new investments in mobility technology, big data and analytics, health tech, digital media and entertainment, and from the expansion of sectors where Thailand is already well-positioned among regional peers, including e-commerce and fintech.
The report said the adoption of a circular economy can generate cost savings and additional revenue of as much as $1.6 billion per year for the private sector, especially in traditional sectors such as food and agriculture, construction and electronics.
It stated that Thailand could also explore a range of areas, including regenerative farming and organic waste products, in order to take advantage of high-impact circular economy opportunities.
Birgit Hansl, World Bank country manager for Thailand, said that while it was investing in market-enabling infrastructure, Thailand needed to build skills for the future.
She said the country needed to equip young people to become the next generation of coders, digital creators and tech entrepreneurs to drive Thailand's resilient, sustainable and inclusive growth.
To pursue its vision of high growth, Thailand also needs to address key investment and sector-specific constraints impacting the private sector, said Jane Yuan Xu, IFC country manager for Thailand and Myanmar.
The report highlighted the fact that strengthening structural reform implementation can help create an enabling environment for businesses, promoting investments in digital innovation and circular technology.
The report suggested accelerated reforms were urgently needed in the following areas: promoting market competition, removing restrictions to foreign direct investments, enabling access to innovation finance, and expanding skills for the future.