Mekong Institute Course Director Appointed

  • Simon Upton
Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Agricultural economist John Askwith has been appointed course director for the New Zealand-funded Mekong Institute in Thailand, Associate Foreign Minister Simon Upton announced today.

"The Mekong Institute is a major New Zealand aid initiative which will benefit all the countries of the Mekong Basin," Mr Upton said.

"Mr Askwith is ideally placed to do the job. He has worked in Thailand as an aid adviser and has also been involved in New Zealand's economic reforms through his MAF role."

Mr Askwith, who has been director of economics policy at the Ministry of Agriculture, would take up his position in early August, the Minister said.

The Mekong Institute is New Zealand's largest aid project in Asia. It serves Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Yunnan Province of China, providing training for senior public and private sector managers in economic and public sector reform.

The Mekong region was set to become one of the major growth areas of Asia and offered considerable trade potential, the Minister said.

The Institute is located in north-eastern Thailand, on the campus of Khon Kaen University. New Zealand has had an association with this university for around thirty years.