|Thailand joined the World Bank on May 3, 1949. The country's first World Bank loan was approved in October 1950. The US$25 million loan was used for three projects: rebuilding the state railway lines, improving the port of Bangkok, and developing the irrigation capabilities of the Chao Phraya River, which helped spur the country’s post-war development. Since then, the World Bank has provided more than US $90 million in funds for Thailand. Here are a few examples of where World Bank assistance to Thailand has produced positive changes on the ground.
The Social Investment Project helped the Thai government respond to the country's financial and economic crisis through the rapid creation of employment opportunities and the provision of essential social services to the unemployed and poor. The project helped the country to finance bottom-up service delivery, manage development initiatives, and promote decentralization, local capacity building, and community development.
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The Universities Science and Engineering Education Project is improving the quality of undergraduate science and engineering programs by, among other things, strengthening faculty teaching capabilities; upgrading the existing science and engineering program content; and modernizing laboratories and strengthening their management. A similar project, the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project, is assisting in raising the quality of secondary education in science and mathematics through strengthening teacher education.
The Building Chiller Replacement Project is helping Thailand improve its energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the building air-conditioning sector, while also reducing the consumption of ozone depleting substances required under the Montreal Protocol.
In June 2001, the Bank hosted the Thailand Innovation Day Competition, an initiative to foster new and innovative partnerships and products for poverty reduction. A collaboration between the government of Thailand, private-sector and civil-society groups, and the World Bank, Thailand Innovation Day is one of three country pilot projects of the Global Development Marketplace, a World Bank program exploring innovative paths to development. The Development Marketplace recognizes innovation and encourages creative partnerships among the NGO, business, development banking, and government sectors. Among the highlights of Innovation Day were a range of projects submitted by Thailand's public and private sectors and civil society organizations, showcased and judged around the theme of "information technology and quality of life in rural Thailand." A number of groups were awarded grant funding to implement their projects in partnership with a rural enterprise or community in Thailand.
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