News Analysis

The Asean factor

a collection of short infographics videos which look at aspects of the Philippine economy that are crucial to the country’s economic-growth prospects

Today, The Volatilian™ is introducing a new section to its website – a collection of short infographics videos which look at aspects of the Philippine economy that are crucial to the country’s economic-growth prospects. We’ve run a number of these over the past few months along with the general news; now we’re giving them their own archive which can be accessed here.

These infographics series are all adaptations of large reports put out by the likes of the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and so on. The methodology behind these brief videos is simple: to compare, specifically, how the Philippines is doing in relation to its fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

And we do that because we believe this peer group represents the main region where the Philippines needs to compete most; where it needs to really do well – whether that’s in attracting foreign direct investment, new businesses, foreign tourists or virtually any product or service that can lift the country’s economic performance further.

Asean, we believe, is the litmus test for the Philippine effort to develop and expand its economy. In some areas it’s doing well; but in others it’s falling far short and it’s those areas we tend to highlight.

That doesn’t mean we’re dwelling on the competition weaknesses of the Philippines for their own sake – we’re not; we’re drawing attention to them because these are the areas where the country has to improve if it’s ever going to fulfill its potential and its promise as a vibrant economic hub in this region.

As British celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsey, once remarked, to help his businesses to succeed he doesn’t need hear what he’s doing right; he needs to hear what he’s doing wrong. We agree with that approach; back-slapping isn’t going to help the Philippines to succeed – it hasn’t so far at least.

There’s no question that the Philippines is doing well – currently, it’s the world’s 10th-fastest growing economy, according to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report released last month. In 2016 it chalked-up a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.9% – up from 5.9% in 2015. This year it’s expected to post a GDP rise of between 6.5% and 7.5%. The fact is, right now, it’s the fastest growing economy in Asean.

Nor is there any doubt in our mind that the Philippines has the human talent and the natural resources to build the size of its economy and propel it to the forefront of the group of 10 – and sustain that position.

On their own, however, they’re not enough. For better or for worse, the Philippines has to operate in a globalised world and must compete in the context of a global set of criteria and standards. If it can get up to speed in these areas there’ll be no stopping it; if it doesn’t it will remain down table in Asean. And that’s a place we don’t believe it should be occupying. Photo: the flags of the 10 member states of Asean with the Asean flag, far right.

Access the infographics here.

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