Johns Hopkins prof: Infrastructure to attract more foreign investments


MANILA — The Philippines needs to build structures to attract more foreign investments particularly from China, in potential sectors of energy, resources and small businesses.

Alvin Camba, a professor at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, underscored the country’s need to build infrastructures “quickly” given the traffic problem especially in Metro Manila.

“A lot of economists actually argue that the Philippines is in good shape like macroeconomically… Infrastructures actually are business opportunities as well in terms of like having investments… That will eventually help other businesses,” he said in a forum.

Austin Ong, a professor at the De la Salle University where he teaches courses on China Modern Economy and Globalization, said investors are looking for long-term investments with more stability.

“Long term policy planning is also very important for them (and) security also,” he said.

Camba, who specializes in Chinese investments in the Philippines, noted that these developments can attract investments, particularly from China, in three potential sectors.

“First energy, we have not really developed that so much. So coming in for them and developing energy infrastructure is something that can happen,” he said. “This is something that China did, for example, in Laos that Laos right now is exporting energy instead of importing energy.”

Camba also identified resources as another sector with huge potential to attract Chinese investments.

He recalled that China invested in Indonesia’s resource sectors in 1990s, and Indonesia now is one of the biggest exporters of resources in the world.

“(Third are the) retail and small businesses. The Philippines is a big domestic consuming economy, that’s a potential for them to earn,” he added.

Aside from China, the experts also urged the Philippines to undertake initiatives to attract other investors.

“As a developing country, we need to expand our options. (Strengthen) links with the Middle East. Middle East is looking to invest in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. That’s another opportunity for the Philippines to get investments and expand capital within the country,” Camba said in an interview.

For his part, Ong said the Philippines can forge friendly relations with all countries, particularly Russia, China as well as the United States.

He noted that as more countries compete for friendship with the Philippines, the country can attract higher investments from them.