Digital, circular economy can earn Thailand $3.4 billion a year extra - World Bank

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Tourists visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

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BANGKOK, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Digital and disruptive technologies and development of a circular economy can earn Thailand up to $3.4 billion each year in additional investments, savings and revenue, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Thailand, a $544 billion economy before the pandemic hit, needs an innovation-led growth model and to address existing foreign investment constraints to create better jobs and become a high-income country, it said in a statement.

Adopting a circular economy, which involves producing, leasing, repairing, upgrading and recycling as much as possible, could generate as much as $1.6 billion of cost savings and additional revenue for the private sector, especially for agriculture, construction, and electronics, the bank said.

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An additional $1.8 billion a year could be generated from accelerating use of digital technology, it added, mostly from new investments and expansion of sectors where Thailand is well-positioned, like e-commerce and fintech.

"With COVID-19, digital and disruptive technologies have been key in keeping businesses afloat," Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith was quoted as saying in the World Bank statement.

The tourism- and consumption-led economy, Southeast Asia's second biggest after Indonesia, grew 1.6% last year, among the slowest in the region, and the government predicts growth of 3.5-4.5% this year. read more

Strengthening structural reforms will boost businesses and promote investments in digital innovation and circular technology, the World Bank added.

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Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Martin Petty

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