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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Economy : The Philippines on the Upswing

The Philippines is really an enigma! There was a time when the economies of its neighboring countries were all doing well and the Philippines was bungling with its own. It was even tagged as the basket case of Asia. But now that other countries' economies are slowing down or collapsing, its economy is surprisingly on the upswing. As a matter of fact, it is now the fastest growing economy in Asia.

According to a CNN report, the growth is mainly due to two factors : the remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers and the booming call center industry. Normally, these factors are not what other countries would rely on to grow their economies, in fact it doesn't apply to most of them. Very few countries have big overseas workers population, and most do not have a call center industry. The only country which has a similar experience is India. India has a lot of overseas workers and also has a  booming call center industry. As a matter of fact,  it was the leading call center network in Asia until recently. Lately, the Philippines has overtaken India as the leading call center network in the region. But India is an industrialized country, unlike the Philippines which is basically an agricultural country.

Who would ever think that the facility of Filipinos to speak English as a second language would  someday be useful and eventually help in the economic recovery of their country. When Spain sold the Philippines to the Americans, the Philippines became a colony of the US for almost a century, and Filipinos were forced to learn the English language.

The Philippine Call Center Industry
And who would over think that Filipinos seeking employment and greener pastures abroad due to unemployment and lack of better job opportunities,  would someday help save their country's economy. Almost a tenth of the Filipino population are working abroad, and these millions of overseas Filipino workers are now remitting billions of dollars to the Philippines, thus helping its economy grow.

Click pictograph to enlarge
Overseas Filipino Workers Remittances (1987-2007)

Hopefully, the Philippines has reach its turning point.

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