Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will leave on Sunday for three African countries to promote Thailand's new strategy on the continent, which is set to be a new market for Thai investors.
Ms Yingluck will visit Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda before returning home on Friday.
It will be the first official visit by any Thai leader to the three countries, though Ms Yingluck's brother Thaksin is no stranger to the continent or the countries on her itinerary.
Narong Sasithorn, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's South Asia, Middle East and Africa Department, said the premier would use the trip to launch the "Thailand-Africa Initiative".
At least 17 agreements will be signed during the trip, Mr Narong said. Of these, Thailand will sign eight agreements with Mozambique, six with Tanzania and three with Uganda.
About 60 Thai businessmen from sectors including energy, food, construction and tourism will accompany the premier.
Deposed former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has made several investments in Africa.
Thaksin told Forbes magazine last November that his holding company Global PS had invested "about $30 million" in African mining concessions. The agreements cover gold, platinum and titanium in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Thaksin has also served as the honorary chairman of a Dubai-based company that holds a five-year concession to run the state lottery in Uganda.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited Thailand in November last year after Thaksin reportedly indicated that Thai officials and businesses could advise on how to develop oil reserves in the African country.
Thailand and Mozambique, meanwhile, have been working on cooperation in gem investments, to combine Thai craft skills with Mozambique's abundant precious stone resources.
Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikuar first announced the venture in January last year, saying the idea had originated with Thaksin.
Thaksin also invested the equivalent of about 295 million baht in a coal-mining venture in South Africa but later pulled out following a boardroom conflict.
Thaksin told Forbes that while he was still premier, he planned to make 2005 "the year of African relations with Thailand" because of the potential he saw in the continent.
However, the plan never came about, he said, because political conditions in Thailand started to deteriorate and he was ousted in a coup the following year.
The African continent holds great trade and investment potential for Thailand as its population stands at 1.1 billion and is expected to grow to 1.4 billion in the next seven years, Mr Narong said.
About 65% of the African population is under 35, making it attractive to investors who need workers, as well as to the consumer market, he added.
Mr Narong said urbanisation in Africa would expand as only 300 million of the continent's people live in cities.
Over the next decade, African cities will become bigger and consumer spending will increase.
"This is an opportunity for Thai investors to come to Africa as it is also rich in forest, fishery, oil, gas and mineral resources," he said.
Ms Yingluck will deliver a speech on the theme "Common Challenges, Shared Destiny" during her visit to Tanzania on Tuesday and will discuss links between the Thai-backed Dawei port in Myanmar and Tanzania's Dar es Salaam port.
In Mozambique, the premier will launch a volunteer project modelled after the US Peace Corps, which will send Thai volunteers to help develop African countries. The volunteers will be selected from various fields of expertise, including agriculture, energy, health, education and tourism.
Mozambique is looking at Thailand as a model for development.
Ms Yingluck will stress the importance of cooperation between Thailand and Africa in the energy, jewellery and infrastructure sectors, Mr Narong said.
She will discuss roads and railways and aim to sell more rice to Mozambique, which imports more than 200,000 tonnes of Thai rice a year - 56% of the country's rice imports.
In Uganda, Thai investors will look at opportunities in agriculture and the oil and gas industries.
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