Key lessons from APEC 2015
Key lessons from APEC 2015

Rob Reyes

It's learning about inclusive growth and ensuring it benefits the majority

MANILA, Philippines – From November 16 to 19, the Philippines welcomed world leaders and delegates from 21 member economies to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

“Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World” was the theme for this year’s gathering. Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group said in his speech during the APEC CEO Summit on November 18, “we have to build a world that is more transparent, a world that is more inclusive, a world that cares about others and empowers others.” (WATCH: APEC CEO SUMMIT 2015: Insights from Alibaba’s Jack Ma)

This is what inclusive growth, this year’s theme, aims to provide.

Whether in the local scale or among member economies, driving inclusive growth will break barriers and provide directs links for economic opportunities and growth. On a larger scale, this means bridging the gap among member countries and creating freer and open trades and tapping the value of foreign investments and partnerships.

But how about for the Filipinos? How does driving inclusive growth help Filipinos?

Here, Benedict Carandang, a delegate of the APEC SME Summit held November 17 and co-founder and managing director at Tuldok Animation Studios Inc. and head of business development at, shares his lessons learned from the summit and what should Filipinos look forward to post-APEC:

Employment opportunities

APEC 2015 was an opportunity to create partnerships, be it through investments or trade agreements. More investments from foreign economies create the fuel to drive local economies forward.

With more investments (read: money), the more liquid economies are to drive growth. If an economy is growing, this creates more opportunities for employment.

At the same time, more trade agreements may result in more projects, which bring about the same effects – more job opportunities.

With an unemployment rate of 6.4%, more partnerships and investments between the Philippines and APEC member economies may help decrease the unemployment rate and create more jobs for Filipinos.

Education, innovation, and capability-building

In ancient times, there was the Agricultural Revolution; in the early 19th century the Industrial Revolution; and today, the Digital and Tech Revolution. There is an ever-growing need for knowledge and innovation in today’s world, and organizers and delegates of the APEC understand the importance of education. (WATCH: APEC CEO SUMMIT 2015: Health and education for the future)

APEC 2015 was an avenue for member economies to work together and create opportunities to educate its people. With delegates from developed economies such as Australia, Singapore, and the US in attendance, APEC created direct links to educate and foster innovation and internationalization for developing economies.

Sustainable and resilient MSMEs

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country need to have a more regional and global mindset. (READ: APEC leaders: Intensify efforts for MSMEs, embrace digital economy)

MSMEs is the key focus of this year’s APEC. But Filipinos are prone to thinking of the short-term, “basta kumita” (just to earn). Putting up a market stall to sell goods to the locals in the community or owning a franchise are common examples of businesses Filipinos go into.

However, in the APEC Summit, Carandang learned that one’s mindset needs to be more globalized.

In line with creating sustainable and resilient MSMEs, there’s a need for businesses to be scalable, he said.

“It’s important to create a business model that caters to the local market. But at the same time, if you want your business to last and be profitable, you need to find ways on how to scale and grow your business,” Carandang said. – Bea Bongat,

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