The Philippines is going from perceived basket case to prime candidate for an investment boom
04:45 AM Apr 28, 2012
How much money does the Philippines, that perennial economic laggard, owe the International Monetary Fund? The answer is nothing.
After years of being in hock, Manila is now an IMF creditor. Thus the people of the Philippines, impoverished though many remain, are doing their bit to help Europeans maintain the living standards they doubtless deserve.
For years, the Philippines has been a bit of a laughing stock in South-east Asia. Gross domestic product of US$2,200 (S$2,700) per capita puts it in the same league as Bolivia, a poor Andean country. Thailand, with a GDP per capita of US$5,400, is out of its league.
A running joke - admittedly not a very funny one - is that the Philippines accidentally swapped places with Chile, the Latin American economy that most resembles a fast-paced Asian tiger. That makes the Philippines more like a llama, trudging dolefully along a dirt track.
Whisper it if you will, but the Philippines may at last be getting its act together. These are early days. But there are definite signs that the country - with its young population of nearly 100 million people, the world’s 12th largest - has turned a corner.
There are three reasons to be hopeful, if not yet exactly cheerful.
The world expects so much now from the Philippines.