Young population puts Philippines at the top of investors’ minds — US News & World Report

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A big pool of young, trainable workers has turned out to be an edge for the Philippines.

By Melissa Luz T. Lopez
Senior Reporter

THE PHILIPPINES topped 80 countries as the best investment destination, according to the US News & World Report, noting that its young population will attract more firms looking for a good labor force.

The US News & World Report named the Philippines the “Best Country to Invest In” in its 2018 Best Countries report.

“In contrast to declining inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Southeast Asia as a whole, the Philippines continued to perform well, according to United Nations data,” read the report, which was published online.

“In years to come, the country is expected to receive more FDI from within the region from powerhouses like China that are looking to utilize available labor in developing nations.”

Net FDI inflows to the Philippines reached $8.725 billion in the 11 months to November 2017, already surpassing the $8-billion forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the entire year.

Sought for comment, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Philippines’ “young and hardworking workforce” plus an “excellent” inclusive growth momentum likely helped the country snag the top spot.

The Philippine economy grew by 6.7% in 2017, slower than the previous year’s 6.9% but still one of the fastest-growing major economies in Asia.

Mr. Dominguez also identified an expanding middle class, a “politically stable” environment, a stable monetary policy, an “achievable” infrastructure program and a strong anti-corruption drive as other factors that likely buoyed the country’s scores.

Indonesia, Poland, Malaysia and Singapore completed the top five best investment sites, followed by Australia, Spain, Thailand, India and Oman.

“Southeast Asia is home to many of the countries business decision-makers find financially attractive,” read the report, which was based on a survey of “more than 6,000 business decision-makers”.

Countries were gauged on eight equally weighted attributes, namely: corrupt, dynamic, economically stable, entrepreneurial, favorable tax environment, innovative, skilled labor force and technological expertise.

US News & World Report drew up the list in partnership with Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The wider Best Countries ranking factors in 65 attributes which are the subject of a survey conducted among over 21,000 people across the globe.

“The more a country was perceived to exemplify a certain characteristic in relation to the average, the higher that country’s attribute score and vice versa,” the report read.

Across all indicators, the Philippines ranked 49th out of 80 countries, lower than the previous year’s 43rd place.

The country ranked best in terms of adventure at the 16th spot, while its lowest ranking was 55th in terms of citizenship and power.

The Philippines stood at 37th in terms of quality of life, and 34th in terms of being “open for business.”

Switzerland was named the best country overall, followed by Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan.