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Digital Tech to Boost Standard of Living in Thailand

To enhance the standard of living for people through digital technology, 15 areas have been earmarked for the government to implement the development of smart cities. A meeting was held of the National Smart City Steering subcommittee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister recently.

The meeting was attended by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Smart City Thailand Office, and Digital Economy Promotion Agency, among other related representatives and agencies. During the meeting, the group certified 15 locations to be implementation areas for smart cities. The logo for smart cities was designated for each of these 15 areas that will receive support from the Thailand Board of Investment including promotion and financial aid. In addition to those 15 cities, 50 more smart cities across Thailand will be designated as promotion areas.

The idea of using digital technology in smart cities to improve people’s quality of life is part of the 13th National Economic and Social Development Plan, which was mentioned as a component of the 5 points that the PM pushed for Thailand to focus on.

The PM urged those gathered at the meeting to cooperate in developing the smart cities and the meeting further discussed work plans related to smart cities and aimed at local administrations, relevant agencies, and city budgets.

Some of the cities across Thailand that are among the 15 that were tapped to be implementation areas and receive the smart city logo:

  • Khon Kaen
  • Nakhon Sawan
  • Phadung Krung Kasem Canal smart city development project
  • Phuket
  • Sam Yan
  • Yala

The 5-item strategy that the Minister highlighted to address growing and enhancing the economy are as follows:

  1. Thailand would first need a complete overhaul of how goods are produced in the country. Emphasis is needed on research and development. The goal would be to fall in line with the needs of the digital economy.
  2. To keep up with demand in the new digital world, human resources would also need to be developed and enhanced.
  3. The revised plan for the economy from 2023 will focus on fairness to all people and work to provide equal opportunity to the people of Thailand.
  4. Future economic growth should also be carried out with the environment in mind. Environmental conservation should be at the forefront of development to not contribute to global climate change, and progress should be made with sustainability incorporated. (Thailand has announced intentions of becoming a Southeast Asian hub for electric vehicles, among other green initiatives.)
  5. The proposed plan stresses the need for Thailand to be prepared for future issues that may arise and ready to meet any unforeseen global challenges that may arise in the coming years.

The plan looks towards future trends and the increasingly ubiquitous digital economy and aims to get Thailand in line for growing the economy now and in new sectors.

The goals would be part of the next national economic and social development plan, the 13th plan set to launch from 2023 to 2027. The current 12th plan was enacted for 2017 to 2022 but the secretary-general of the NESDC warns it will most likely miss all its targets due to the widespread negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that has flattened much of the economy, especially the tourism sector that accounts for about one-fifth of Thailand’s economy.

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