Philippine economic resurgence ambassador enrique a manalo
The Philippines’ remarkable economic resurgence continues apace – even last year’s devastating typhoon hasn’t held the country back, says Ambassador Enrique A Manalo
There has never been a better time to do business with the Philippines, Ambassador Enrique A Manalo told an Asia Scotland Institute audience in Edinburgh.
Mr Manalo said that despite the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 his country remains one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
That is due not only to the hard work and drive of the Philippino people, he added, but the support and aid that has poured into his country. Scots alone have donated more than £5m over the past four months.
“A generation ago I wouldn’t have been saying this because at that time the Philippines was seen as an under-performer, labouring to keep pace with the other tiger economies in the Asia region,” Mr Manalo said. “But today we have a remarkably different story to tell.”
Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest in recorded history, affected more than 12 million people and destroyed around US $10 billion worth of crops, properties and infrastructure.
Yet despite the scale of that devastation, the Philippine economy grew by 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, and 7.2 percent for the full year. That was no fluke either. Official figures show the Philippine economy has been expanding for sixty straight quarters, an uninterrupted growth of more than 14 years.
“The Philippines remains one of the best performing economies in the whole of Asia,” Mr Manalo said, “second only to China.”
Speaking at the University of Edinburgh Business School, the ambassador set out some of the reasons for his country’s impressive performance: a stable political environment, solid economic policies, a young and dynamic workforce.
And he said people from Scotland and across Britain have also played a part: “Cumulatively, the UK remains the largest investor in the Philippines over the past decade, with combined net foreign direct and net portfolio investments from 1999 to 2009 amounting to close to US $10 billion.
“There are currently about 200 British companies active in the Philippines from SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] to world-famous brands and multinationals such as Shell and HSBC.”
Mr Manalo urged other Scottish companies to look at the Philippines as a potentially lucrative place to do business. And he invited more people from the UK to join the 120,000 British tourists who already visit the Philippines every year.
“The Philippines resurgence is real…” Mr Manalo said. “And we look to translate our economic success into concrete improvements in the lives of millions of our people – especially through developing more opportunities between the Philippines and the international community in general, and the Philippines and the United Kingdom in particular.”
Our thanks go once again to the Business School for kindly hosting this ASI event