Pitch centers on enticing investment, promoting country as growth hub
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. hopes to drum up more investments in the Philippines and promote the country’s readiness to play a leading role in the regional and global expansion plans of companies as he arrives in Davos, Switzerland today for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The President is attending the Forum’s Country Strategy Dialogue, “where we are given the opportunity to promote the Philippines as leader and driver of growth and a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region —one that is open for business,” he said in his departure statement at the Maharlika Hall of Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Sunday morning.
Mr. Marcos is also slated to speak in a special 30-minute “conversation” with the Forum attendees scheduled on January 18, Wednesday at 5 p.m. (midnight of Thursday, January 19, Manila time), according to the program posted on the WEF website.
Earlier the same day, the President will also be one of the speakers in the session titled “Moving Towards Nutrition Security” at 11:30 a.m.
The WEF will run from Jan. 15 to 20, as Mr. Marcos vowed to highlight the Philippines’ economic gains and bring home more investment pledges.
He said his administration will be “ever ready to complement regional and global expansion plans of both foreign and Philippine-based enterprises anchored on the competent and well-educated Filipino workers, the managers, and professionals.”
Mr. Marcos also said he would look for potential partners who will back his administration’s ambitious plan to build more infrastructure and ensure food and energy security during the WEF in Davos.
“I will draw attention to our efforts at building resilient infrastructure that bolsters our effort to reinforce robust and resilient supply chains, ensures food security, including critical interlinkages with the health and nutrition, while furthering climate-friendly, clean-and-green energy to power the Philippine economy,” the President said.
“Moreover, I will share our experience as a model for managing—with our global partners—the disruptive and transformative impact of COVID,” the Chief Executive said.
He said the theme for this year’s WEF, “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” is appropriate because the world came to a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Marcos vowed to highlight steps being undertaken by the Philippines to “mend the fissures of such fragmentation” within the country and in partnership with other nations.
“Related to this is the need to collectively bolster and reinforce our post-pandemic economic recovery efforts by addressing the challenges we face posed by rising food prices, the impact of conflict in other parts of the world, and the continuing existential threat posed by climate change,” he said.
Mr. Marcos said his participation in the WEF Annual Meeting would give him a chance to exchange views on such pressing issues with other government leaders, policymakers, business executives and entrepreneurs, civic society advocates and academic experts.
“The Philippines is also being given a unique opportunity to highlight the significant economic gains we have achieved in the last part of the year as attested to by upward growth projections of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank,” he said.
The President said he will also share the country’s experience as a model for managing the impact of COVID-19.
“I intend to share our efforts in saving both lives and livelihoods, as well as the people-centered next steps that we are taking to ensure that we are ready to meet the lingering effects of the pandemic and address the occurrence of the next one,” he said.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta earlier said Mr. Marcos will also make a “soft launch” of the Philippines’ proposed sovereign wealth fund (SWF), otherwise known as the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF), which is crucial in boosting the Philippine investments and economic growth (see related story on A2 –Editors).
Mr. Marcos will be the only leader of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who will attend the 2023 WEF Annual Meeting.
He is joined by a Philippine delegation composed of government officials and business leaders.
Mr. Marcos is attending the WEF Annual meeting upon the invitation of WEF founder and chair emeritus Klaus Schwab, who he met at the sidelines of both the ASEAN and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation) meetings in Phnom Penh and Bangkok, respectively in November last year.
This year’s annual meeting of the WEF is the forum’s first in-person gathering since 2020. Established in 1971, the forum serves as an international organization for public-private cooperation.