WB's Kim: If reforms continue, future is bright for Philippines

Posted at 07/15/14 1:26 PM

President Benigno Aquino (fourth from left) stands next to World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim (third from left) during the latter's courtesy call in Malacanang. Photo by Robert Viñas, Malacañang Photo

MANILA, Philippines – World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said the Philippines has the potential to be "the next Asian miracle" amid economic growth achieved under the Aquino administration.

At the Daylight Dialogue event in Malacanang Palace, Kim said if the Philippine government continues implementing reforms to address corruption, “the future is very bright for the Philippines.”

“If it continues down that path, if it continues making the reforms it has already committed to, and maintain the strong macroeconomic fundamentals, I see very strong growth,” he said on Tuesday.

Kim, who is in the Philippines for a two-day visit, lauded the country’s economic gains, giving credit to both the government and the young working demographic.

“If you look at the situation right now, the macroeconomic fundamentals are very good, very strong management over the past four years. We see a young, very vibrant workforce, and the young people are now known for a strong work ethic, the ability to speak English, a very internationalize-able workforce,” he said.

Kim noted, however, that there are still some improvements needed in the business sector in public-private partnerships, creating more jobs and empowering small and medium enterprises.

“Can the government do more working with the private sector to enhance the vibrancy of the private sector growth and job creation? Yes, I think there are always things you can do to improve the business environment,” he said.

During his speech, Kim also highlighted government’s efforts in streamlining business regulations, reducing the cost of doing business and reducing opportunities for corruption, adding that other countries have a lot to learn from the Philippines.

"So many things we are learning from the Philippines will be important to share with other countries all over the world. In some other countries we would call the cutting edge of governance reform, broadly, a transformational age of governance progress is dawning for countries with courage to act. Around the world the spread of info tech is converging with grassroot movement for transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment," he said.