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Chapter | Industry & Agri-business from The Report: Philippines 2021

Industry has made a sustained contribution to the Philippines’ economy in recent years, accounting for roughly 30% of GDP between 2017 and 2019, with sector growth driven predominately by manufacturing. Expansion was constrained in 2020 as Covid-19 response measures impeded manufacturing activity and reduced the global demand for industrial products. Meanwhile, agriculture comprised 9-10% of GDP from 2017-19 and is a crucial source of employment. Increased emphasis has been placed on transforming traditional farming into a dynamic agri-business sector – which will be key to the country’s economic rebound. After a difficult 2020 it will be necessary to address ongoing challenges – including high production and electricity costs, inadequate infrastructure and limited basic industries – to enable long-term manufacturing growth. Supporting businesses in the adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the application of new digital and automated technologies to enhance production processes and service delivery, will further boost resilience. This chapter contains interviews with Ramon M Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Industry; William Dar, Secretary of Agriculture; and Christopher Po, Executive Chairman, Century Pacific Food.

Chapter | Energy from The Report: Philippines 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic hit the Philippines’ consumption-driven economy hard, with forecasts from the IMF suggesting that real GDP could contract by as much as 9% in 2020. Strict lockdowns took a heavy toll on the energy sector in the form of a steep drop in demand for both electricity and fuel, yet local power providers took steps to ease the financial impact on customers by lowering rates and extending payment windows. In a positive sign for the sector’s longer-term development, interest was sustained in oil and gas exploration activities and midstream infrastructure investment during the pandemic. Beyond the health crisis, the renewable energy and natural gas segments present standout opportunities for the coming years as the Philippines looks to meet rising energy demand and alleviate pressure on the national grid.

Chapter | Financial Services from The Report: Philippines 2021

The Philippines’ financial services sector entered the Covid-19 pandemic on a solid footing, thanks to decades of regulatory reform to address the vulnerabilities exposed by the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. Strong capital buffers, high levels of provisioning and near-universal public health cover insulated the country from many of the impacts that other markets continue to wrestle with. While geographic spread and socio-economic disparities remain structural barriers, increasingly tech-focused growth strategies are improving both bottom lines and financial inclusion among the population in measurable ways. The country has experienced a boom in digital banking as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with several digital-only banks announcing plans to enter the market, legacy banks rapidly upgrading their online offerings and the central bank eyeing ambitious digital banking targets. This chapter contains interviews with Benjamin E Diokno, Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Kelvin Ang, CEO, AIA Philam Life; and Sanjiv Vohra, President and CEO, Security Bank.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Philippines 2021

The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies of the past decade, averaging 6.4% growth per year over 2010-19. Indeed, an expanding and youthful population, combined with reforms and an ambitious infrastructure programme, have made it an enticing investment destination. Nevertheless, as is often the case in emerging markets, challenges regarding inequality – particularly the distribution of wealth and services – remain barriers to growth. The Covid-19 pandemic tested the country’s resilience in 2020, impacting major sectors. The Philippine government launched a four-pillar socio-economic strategy to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and aid the national recovery effort. The framework aims to provide emergency support for vulnerable groups and individuals; expand medical resources to fight Covid-19 and ensure the safety of health workers; implement fiscal and monetary initiatives to keep the economy afloat; and launch an economic recovery plan to create jobs and sustain growth. This chapter contains interviews with Carlos Dominguez, Secretary of Finance; and Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Report | The Report: The Philippines 2021

The Philippines is one of the world’s fastest-growing nations. Although economic activity slowed during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic period, stimulus measures, imminent public sector policies and a larger budget are expected to create jobs, generate growth and help kick-start the country’s recovery during 2021.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

This chapter explores Papua New Guinea’s legal system across the national, local and provincial levels, including the laws that may impact a foreign enterprise in its business dealings in PNG; the taxes and import duties imposed on individuals and business organisations; the rules regarding the use of customary land; and the conditions under which citizens of the country can be employed. The chapter includes a viewpoint from John Leahy, Principal, Leahy PNG Law.

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