MANILA, Philippines – All eyes are on the Philippines as it hosts for the first time the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia this May.
“This is the Philippines’ moment,” said Sushant Palakurthi Rao, WEF senior director and head of Asia, who’s in Manila as preparations for the prestigious global event go into full swing.
Rao said the forum to be held on May 21-23 will showcase the Philippines’ growth story. “The timing to be in the Philippines is superb and that links to the very strong economic performance of the country.”
Once dubbed as Asia’s “sick man,” the Philippines is now the fastest-growing economy in the region, next only to China. For the first time in its history last year, the country won investment grade status – an important vote of investor confidence.
The Philippines has also significantly improved its rankings in global competitiveness surveys, indicating that investors are getting more encouraged to do business here.
But Rao said more than the Philippines’ economic strides, its fight against corruption and for good governance has become a “benchmark” for many countries.
“The Philippines has demonstrated to the world that with this approach, it is possible to have very visible, concrete growth… We are hopeful that the Philippines can serve as a very good example in that regard,” he said.
The WEF on East Asia will gather around 600 global leaders and business delegates who will tackle key issues like joblessness, natural disasters, inclusive growth and other challenges faced by the world and region today.
Rao said the forum will also focus on the 2015 ASEAN economic integration, which aims for the free flow of goods and services, investments and labor in the region. – Rappler.com