The Philippines' rising economy to Star in 2050

BANKING giant Hongkong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) announced recently that the Philippines can be one of the world's top economies by 2050.

It is encouraging that this independent and credible financial organization sees the enormous potential our country has for economic growth, and that if this potential is nurtured, the outcomes will be concrete and tangible and will provide benefits for the nation and its people.

In the HSBC report, the Philippine economy is forecast to rise 27 places upward to 16th rank less than 40 years from now.

The Philippines was also marked as one of 26 "fast-growth" countries expected to register "an average expansion of more than 5 percent per year."

Despite a "very low level of development," the report says the Philippines is among those countries that has made "great progress in improving fundamentals. As they open themselves to the technology available elsewhere, they should enjoy many years of 'copy-and-paste' growth ahead."

The Philippines was noted as being one of the "truly remarkable hot spots in Asia…. The star performer, however, is the Philippines, where the combination of strong fundamentals and powerful demographics gives rise to an average growth rate of 7 percent for the coming 40 years."

Noted as contributing to the country's progress are the "improvements in its economic infrastructure," with the "fast-growing population…expected to increase the country's labor force, which likewise benefits from the quantity and quality of education."

HSBC projected the Philippines's average gross domestic product growth at 8.4 percent from 2010 to 2020, 7.3 percent from 2020 to 2030, and 5.8 percent from 2040 to 2050.

The report stated further the following top 5 projections:

  1. China is expected to become the No.1 economy,
  2. United States will follow China,
  3. India
  4. Japan  
  5. Germany

Germany will remain  in the top five, in that order.

Many smaller economies will move up, such as:

Many European countries may decline, especially those in Northern Europe, because of a smaller work force and the rise of developing nations—

Among the factors that contribute to long-term economic growth are demographics—the size of the working population—and the opportunities for each individual to be more productive.

In order to create a milieu conducive to promoting productivity, there must be the following significant factors: opportunities for education, democratic governments, and strong rule of law.

Factors that could derail progress are war, energy-consumption constraints, climate change, and barriers to population movement across borders.

The report comes with a caveat: "We openly admit that behind these projections we assume governments build on their recent progress and remain solely focused on increasing the living standards for their populations….Of course, this maybe an overly glossy way of viewing the world."

The Philippines under President Aquino is already putting those measures for growth in place. Economic growth showed a strong uptick in 2011, when the Philippine Stock Exchange closed with a 4.1-percent gain. This made it Asia's best-performing economy for the year.

In another report, to create a climate conducive to more growth, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is working toward "a unified trading bloc with free-flow capital by 2015." Electronic-trading links will be set up in Asian countries to "allow more investments and raise liquidity," starting in 2012 in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, followed later by the Philippines.

In addition, the Aquino administration has taken larger steps toward fighting graft and corruption via the Good Governance and Anti-corruption Cluster (GGAC) Plan for 2012-2016, which was approved on January 3. It will simplify and integrate the government's anti-graft and -corruption systems.

Necessary legislations and policies will be reviewed and strengthened, while digitization and innovations in government operations will be promoted, backed by an aggressive advocacy and communication campaign. Once these measures are in place, the government expects the business and economic environment to improve further.

President Aquino said as much in his toast at the vin d'honneur at Malacañang on January 13 (the ceremony is the Palace's traditional New Year's celebration for the diplomatic corps):

"We have already made great strides in our fight against corruption and poverty, as well as in our thrust to create a progressive economic climate guided by fair and honest practices. Local and foreign groups have acknowledged our triumphs by investing in our country, by lauding our efforts in open governance, and by supporting our programs.

"At the heart of our work for the next year lies a desire to secure for our people a better standard of life, and a brighter future. And all of you present here today are crucial to achieving that goal.

"This year, we will strengthen the programs that work for our countrymen, such as those in education, health, housing, and others like our Conditional Cash Transfer Program.

"We will not relent in our quest to hold accountable those who seek to perpetuate the culture of impunity in our country.

"We will continue to ensure the safety of our nation: by upgrading our defense capabilities, and by working to achieve peace, while pursuing lawless and criminal elements.

"We will continue to sustain the growth of our economy and create opportunities for employment.

"These are not without their challenges, but I am confident that so long as we stand together and remain consistent in our service to the public, our countrymen will be behind us every step of the way, as we work toward success."

* * *

PCSO News: the PCSO will be taking care of the bills of the victims of the Pantukan, Compostela Valley, landslide who are in government hospitals, and will also be assisting the victims of the December 10 plane crash in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City.

The Beechcraft nine-seater was en route to San Jose, Mindoro, when it crashed at 2:15 in the afternoon in a residential area. According to the police report, there were 13 casualties and 15 to 20 houses, including the F. Serrano Elementary School, were burned. Sixteen persons were injured.

The PCSO is also working on a quick-response disaster- management initiative and is drawing up guidelines for this in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development. More PCSO branch offices will also be opened nationwide in order to better address the needs of its beneficiaries.

Atty. Rojas is the general manager of the PCSO. E-mail: jrojas@pcso.gov.ph.

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