All Africa: Mozambique & Thailand cement relations with ambitious trade goal


Mozambique (Photo credit: F H Mira)

MaputoMozambique and Thailand have agreed to a series of measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation. The accords cover technical cooperation, diplomatic visa exemptions, hydrocarbon development, economic cooperation and tourism.Currently, trade between the two countries stands at 180 million US dollars a year. These new measures could see trade double over the next five years. The signing of the accords in Maputo on Monday followed the arrival of the Prime Minster of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra.Speaking at a press conference after the signing ceremony, Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, highlighted the important role played by the private sector. He argued, “governments can facilitate, but ultimately it is the private sector that drives economic growth”. Mozambique’s Foreign Minister, Oldemiro Baloi, said that the bilateral discussions covered many issues including natural resources, tourism, fishing, health, transport and communications. During separate talks with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, Yingluck Shinawatra presented plans to create a Thailand/Africa Forum and invited the country to participate. This is the first time a Thai leader has visited Mozambique since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1989. In addition, it is Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawatra’s first visit to the African continent since her election in 2011. Several Thai ministers and business leaders are accompanying her.The Prime Minister will also visit Tanzania and Uganda before returning to Thailand to attend the new session of parliament on Thursday. Thailand has two major stakes in Mozambique’s developing economy. The Thai state oil company PTT holds an 8.5 per cent share in the Rovuma Area 1 exploration zone, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado. The area contains at least 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Meanwhile, a Thai company has bid in the tender for the construction of a new deep-water port at Macuse in Zambezia province. In recent years, Mozambique has imported an average of about 200,000 tonnes of Thai rice a year. (Source)

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