The Philippines has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The poverty level has decreased from 25.2 percent in 2012 to 21.1 percent in 2015, although the rate of extreme poverty remains high at 12.1 percent. The nation’s future is looking bright, as plans are developed to upgrade aging infrastructure in the Philippines. Working toward creating more jobs, boosting competitiveness and attracting more foreign firms to influx its economy, this Southeast Asian country has received a lot of help and support to make these goals a reality.
The 2015-2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report ranks the Philippines at 106 out of 140 countries in terms of infrastructure development. As part of the Infrastructure Initiative, with the Department of Commerce, this project is designed to help attract U.S. companies to participate in various infrastructure endeavors within the Philippines.
Between the countries high economic growth and rising population, its infrastructure has been strained and is in need of serious development.
In 2017, an interagency panel chaired by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte approved four major infrastructure projects worth $7.5 billion, that included bridges, roads and the country’s first subway.
The Metro Manila Subway Project was the largest plan approved, funded by overseas aid from Japan. This major upgrade in infrastructure in the Philippines of its subway was urgently needed in order to solve the capitals notorious gridlock. Road expansions are also underway in the southern Philippines as well as the construction of bridges in Manila.
These major and important changes are all part of Duterte’s “golden age of infrastructure” six-year plan which will cost about $180 billion in modernizations of airports, roads, railways and ports.
Above all, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have played a critical role in financing infrastructure in the Philippines, aiding in road improvement, water and sanitation, transportation, solid waste management, flood management projects and even energy-related projects.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States of America also offered a “financing package for up to $1 billion in guaranteed loans and direct-dollar loans to finance U.S. exporters in renewable energy and liquefied natural gas facilities in the Philippines.” In 2017, TRIP, the three-year rolling infrastructure program, was reinstated which assures continuous government funding for three years.
With these major banks and organizations at work, the Philippines is well on its way to becoming the fastest growing economy, and the hope is strong that this economic growth will eliminate poverty altogether.
– Kailey Brennan