PH soon to join 'tiger economies', claims expert

Philippines may soon join the ranks of the world's "tiger economies," an international expert said.

Ruchir Sharma, chief of the Emerging Markets Equity team at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, said in his book “Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles” that Philippines is positioned for huge growth.

"Now at long last, the Philippines looks poised to resume a period of strong growth," Sharma said in his now best-selling piece.

"The new president, Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III, probably has enough support, and looks likely to generate just enough reform momentum, to get the job done. The Aquino name is still virtually synonymous with the promise of change," Sharma also wrote.

Asia's tiger economies include Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

'PH: No longer a joke'

Sharma's book emphasized that in 1960s, Philippines is Asia's second-highest per capital income earner and only behind Japan but the country's "fortunes have shifted dramatically since then."

"Malaysia and Thailand followed in the 1980s and China in the 1990s. Then in 2009, in a moment the Manila elite thought it would never see, Indonesia's boom made Indonesians richer than Filipinos for the first time modern history," Sharma wrote.

Sharma noted that in 2010, upon his visit to the Philippines, the country was "still the undisputed laggard of Asia, a nation mired in chronic incompetence."

He lamented the absence of high-speed trains, and the good old jeepney remaining a favorite in public transport--and yes, he also mentioned the infamous Manila airport.

But he believes that under the Aquino administration, PH may once again shine.

"Aquino is delegating power to competent technocrats and seems to understand what needs to be done to get the lights back on," he said.

However, before PH returns to its old glory, it should first see a "modicum of political stability and some basic economic sense," the book noted.

Sharma said an economic surge may happen if PH rightfully manages its vast resources--having the world's fifth-richest in natural resources such as oil, copper, nickel, gold, and silver.

Surprisingly, for Sharma, PH's booming population is not a disadvantage. In fact, he claims that the high population is a "big economic plus" because "the concentration of people and business drives growth."

He also mentioned Pinoys' ability to speak English, leading the country to becoming the best choice of business process outsourcing-a $9 billion industry employing 350,000 people.

"It could be made to happen, if the third Aquino can get the people-power revolution right," Sharma said in his book.

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