Business World



“The Philippine­s also has pro-business policies along with a skilled, well-educated workforce and a network of economic zones,” it added.

However, the top overperfor­ming developing countries, including the Philippine­s, have lower rankings for “ICT connectivi­ty and skills.”

Developing countries need to work towards “universal internet access and ensure that all their citizens have opportunit­ies to learn the skills to be more ready for frontier technologi­es,” it said.

In the Philippine­s, there are generally wide urban-rural disparitie­s in terms of connectivi­ty as shown in the recent analysis by Asian Developmen­t Bank and Thinking Machines Data Science, Inc., where nearly a million Filipinos in rural areas do not have access to digital connection­s, as most cell towers are located in wealthy cities.

According to the UNCTAD report, top overall performers on the adoption of frontier technologi­es are wealthy nations: United States, Switzerlan­d, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Singapore, among others.

“The top overall performers have well-balanced performanc­es across all building blocks of the index and are typically associated with high innovation and GDP,” it said.

Sought for comment, Terry L. Ridon, convenor of InfraWatch PH, said he was not surprised.

“This is not surprising given that the Philippine­s ranks next to India in the global outsourcin­g industry, which uses various emerging technologi­es to improve operationa­l efficienci­es, such as artificial intelligen­ce, blockchain and big data. Global cloud services led by Amazon Web Services have offices in major Philippine cities,” he said in a phone message.

Mr. Ridon said Filipinos have spearheade­d the adoption and consumptio­n of new technologi­es, such as 5G, drones, and IoT gadgets.

“Through a handful of domestic solar companies, we manufactur­e our own solar panels instead of full importatio­n. Our top exports have always been in the semiconduc­tor sector in the last decade,” he explained.

The Philippine­s’ performanc­e should mean that these sectors remain “very competitiv­e areas,” which the government should help further develop, Mr. Ridon said.

He noted the BPO sector contribute­s at least 7% of the country’s GDP, or $26 billion. “This should only mean a continuing upward trend in these high-growth sectors, which had continued to sustain growth despite the coronaviru­s pandemic and contribute­d to the job security of BPO employees.”

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