PH ‘more attractive’ to investors

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


THE jump of the Philippines in this year’s Global Information Technology report of the World Economic Forum (WEF) by eight notches is set to open more opportunities in the country’s ICT sector, a key stakeholder believes.

Last April, WEF reported that the Philippines is now at the 78th spot, a leap from last year’s 86th position. The report ranks the progress of 148 economies in using ICT to increase productivity, economic growth and the number of quality jobs.

Wilfredo Sa-a Jr., executive director of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedfit), said that the improvement indicates a more attractive Philippines to investors.

Secure

He said that even at the onset, many new players have entered Cebu, especially in the field of health information and insurance management.

“I think that the report will make them feel more secure in investing (in the Philippines),” Sa-a said. He also attributed the improvement in ranking to government’s efforts of becoming more active and responsive to IT-related needs.

In WEF’s Global IT report, it attributed the Philippines’ present ranking to the “perceived efficiency in the country’s legal system and property rights protection.”

Initiatives

The Department of Science and Technology, under the Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO), has been involved in different activities and programs in developing the country’s ICT like the Philippine Digital Strategy, Community eCenters Roadmap and Philippine IT BPM roadmap, among others. The ICTO has also been quoted in various reports that it will continue to support startups in the Philippines through activities like Startup Weekend.

The Global IT report also showed that thePhilippines is on the 75th spot in terms of having “more affordable access to ICT infrastructure” and 69th in terms of “better (IT) skills”

For Sa-a, IT Skills have improved, especially with the decreasing gap between the industry and the academe. He said the gap is still present but it has been lessened now because of several interventions done by the academe and industry players themselves and IT development institutions like Cedfit.

In terms of business usage, the Philippines was reported to be at a more advanced stage (43rd) than individual usage (91st). Progress made in terms of economic impacts registered last year continued this year, moving up eight positions and reaching 48th place. As for ICT’s role in fostering innovation by creating new products and services, the Philippines ranked 42nd. It ranked 28th in terms of organizational models.

Bridging gaps

Despite the improvement in ranking, the report noted little progress in “bridging the digital divide” on a global perspective.

One of the key findings of the report is that countries cannot only rely on ICT infrastructure development to become competitive. Rather, the benefits of ICT can only be fully derived “when a country implements a holistic strategy aimed at creating conditions for skills, innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish alongside modern infrastructure.”

“The stalling of progress is worrisome for emerging and developing nations, which are at risk of missing out on many positive impacts information and communications technologies (ICT) bring, including increased innovation, economic competitiveness and greater social inclusion,” the report said.

Impact sourcing

Sa-a said that with the reported growth in the ICT sector, locals should also become investors in their own country.

One of the ideas being considered at present is “impact sourcing” or outsourcing done in the countryside where big time foreign investors can partner with local companies to set up facilities for impact outsourcing.

Sa-a also said that the government and key stakeholders should be more supportive of Filipino startups.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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