His Excellency General Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
For over a decade, the Kingdom of Thailand has been internationally recognized as a regional centre for ICT growth and development.
In 1995, Thailand launched an ambitious technology project to address the goal of ensuring access to education for all citizens. By the early 2000s, Thailand’s SchoolNet programme achieved 100 per cent Internet connectivity for schools in the country. In 2002, a comprehensive policy framework for ICT development – the National ICT Master Plan – was created, serving as a blueprint for sustainable growth in the ICT sector. The Master plan proposed seven principal strategies to be achieved by 2006, and called for the establishment of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). Since these policies were enacted, the Kingdom of Thailand has seen remarkable developments in the ICT sector. The wireless market expanded tremendously by 2013, with mobile-cellular penetration reaching over 138 per cent and broadband penetration reaching 52 per cent. Thailand is making strong progress in household ICT accessibility and development as well. Since 2008, computers have replaced telephones as the most commonly available ICT device in Thai homes. In 2014, an expansive new policy framework was introduced: Smart Thailand 2020. The principal objective of the new plan is to boost accessibility, making ICTs a basic commodity for the entire country through ongoing improvements in infrastructure and increased mobile broadband penetration. Additionally, Thailand is constructing technology centres to provide access to ICTs in rural areas with a focus on digital literacy. Thus far, Smart Thailand has resulted in the establishment of some 400,000 public Wi-Fi access points. These developments are expected to continue as Thailand becomes a leader in ICT development in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) sector.
In recognition of outstanding leadership and initiative, it is our honour to present His Excellency General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, with the ICTs in Sustainable Development Award.