“The future is very bright for the Philippines.”
This optimism was expressed by no less than World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim who said that the Philippines will prosper if the government continues to implement reforms, particularly in fighting corruption.
At the Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge forum yesterday, Dr. Kim said he sees a “very strong growth.”
“Among the most important things you can do is tackle corruption and that’s one of the things that the government is doing, you know, frankly, better than just about any other government in the world,” Dr. Kim said.
“And so, if it continues down that path, if it continues making the reforms that it has already committed to do, if it continues to manage market policy and maintain the strong macroeconomic fundamentals, I see very strong growth,” he said.
The World Bank Group president yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Aquino in Malacañang. They then proceeded to lead the Daylight Dialogue: The Good Governance Challenge, where they entertained questions, mostly from the business sector.
6.4 % FORECAST
Dr. Kim noted that while the World Bank downgraded the overall global growth forecast this year from 3.2 percent to 2.8 percent, the WB did not downgrade its forecast for the Philippine economy.
“We think it’s going to hold steady at around 6.4 percent with a lot of upside going into the future,” Kim said.
“So I just will say again, maintain these reforms, continue on the path that you’re going on, and I think the future is very bright for the Philippines,” he said.
According to Dr. Kim, economists during the 60’s and 70’s had thought that South Korea would not have a chance to develop. This, he said, has been proven wrong, noting that it is never too late for the Philippines.
Dr. Kim noted that currently, the Philippines has very good macroeconomic fundamentals as well as very strong management over the last four years under the Aquino administration.
“We see a young, very vibrant workforce, and the young people are now known for a strong work ethic, their ability to speak English — a very internationalized and internationalizable workforce,” he said, adding that more jobs will be created in the country if the government continues to work with the private sector.
ASIA’S NEXT MIRACLE
The World Bank president also called the Philippines as the “next great miracle coming out of Asia” during the toast at a luncheon in Malacañang following the Daylight Dialogue.
“We are absolutely certain that the impact of your administration will be felt far beyond the six years that you have as President; and we commit today to doing everything we possibly can to help you succeed,” Kim said.
During the Daytime Dialogue, Dr. Kim announced that the WB will be creating a governance global practice award named the Jose Edgardo Campos Award, in honor of a Filipino staff who had been an exemplar leader in good governance.
“In his memory, I am pleased to announce that the new governance global practice will create the Jose Edgardo Campos Award, which will honor bank staff who follow in Ed’s footsteps by returning to their countries of origin to advance the cause of governance reform,” Kim said.
Campos, one of the 400 Filipinos who had worked for the World Bank Group, had a number of high-profile positions in the WB, including the manager for World Bank Institute’s Leadership Program, he said.
“Always striving to make a difference, Ed took several years away from his bank career to return and work for the Government of the Philippines, where he played an instrumental role in helping to secure passage of the 2003 Government Procurement Reform Act,” Kim said.
The World Bank president meanwhile underscored the strong partnership between the WB and the Philippines.
He said the Aquino administration is on the right path in terms of governance, citing the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, the Open Data Philippines, and reforms in doing business in the country, among others.
Kim also assured that the World Bank will work with the Philippines in identifying and implementing practical solutions to governance challenges.