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Philippines: The huge English language advantage

Philippines is one of the founding member countries of ASEAN and is of key importance to the regional bloc as a Big 5 member. Though a middle-income ASEAN member state, Philippines is today considered the new tiger in Asia amid strong growth. While the pandemic has hurt the inward foreign direct investments, it has still tried and kept the momentum going. As per The Economist EIU reports, the expected inward direct foreign investments in 2020 are expected to fall to USD 6.5 BN from a high go USD 9.9 BN in 2018, with hopes of reviving to USD 8.2 BN in 2021, as the country’s growth momentum continues.

The Philippines has a steadily growing economy, with a GDP of US$376.80 BN in 2019, which is expected to grow substantially to over USD 400.9 BN by 2021. As the second most populous country in ASEAN, Philippines is seen to be on the path to bigger economic growth in future with a large and growing domestic market.

The country also has a strong political leadership helmed by Rodrigo Roa Duterte, 75, the president of the Philippines since 2016 when he won national elections. A nationalist and populist leader, he enjoys a big domestic support base in Philippines.Duterte is likely to complete his mandated single six-year term in 2022. He will enjoy continued support from the legislature for the remainder of his time in office. During this period, he will also groom younger politicians from parties that back him as possible successors. This will help to maintain his camp’s dominance beyond his presidential term.

English, along with Filipino, is the official language of Philippines and Filipinos have great skills in communicating in English.This is a big advantage for companies, business persons and foreign investors. Philippines also has a huge number of overseas workers in several western countries, who create strong people-to-people links and connections between their home and host countries.

The government of Philippines has been following a policy of laying out the red carpet for foreign investors, especially in the areas of business process outsourcing, IT services and eCommerce. The country has, in fact, become one of the top BPO hubs of the world.

The EIU expects the government to focus on driving a post-pandemic recovery in 2021 through the expedition of its ambitious infrastructure programme. However, its failure to effectively contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid- 19) and the recurrence of further quarantine measures will derail hopes for a robust and immediate rebound this year. The country has currently become the Covid19 pandemic hotspot in South East Asia with the largest number of cases and deaths. While the pandemic has hit the short term economy hard, it has also created opportunities for the government and private sector to work together and support an early revival.


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