DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The delegation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was briefed about Mindanao’s investment potentials, an official said.
“Mindanao has been experiencing unprecedented improvements and significant developments in our economy in recent years,” Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority, said in a statement on Monday.
Alonto has attributed these significant gains to Mindanao’s Gross Regional Domestic Product growth which posted a 7.5 percent increase in 2014 surpassing the national average of 6.2 percent.
Speaking at the business forum held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Alonto showcased the viability of Mindanao when it comes to investment opportunities.
More than 200 key Japanese government officials, private sector representatives and businessmen from Mindanao attended the Philippines-Japan Business Forum which was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with the Davao City Investment Promotion Center.
Japanese Prime Minister Abe earlier pledged $8.7 billion worth of business opportunities and private investments for the Philippines.
Mindanao’s annual investment from 2001 to 2010 only averaged US$125 million, but it leaped to US$1.2 billion average annual investment between 2011 to 2015.
“Mindanao has bountiful natural wealth as it is touted as the ‘Food Basket of the Philippines,’ he said. “It is blessed with favorable agro-climatic conditions, with fertile soils, and rich biodiversity which makes it suitable for food production and agribusiness development.”
The ten-fold increase in the last four years, according to Alonto, was buoyed by a capital investments in the energy sector with US$3.5 billion from 2011 to 2014. In terms of Mindanao’s agricultural land area, as of 2014, it represents 36 percent of the Philippines’ total farm area but yields 43 percent of the country’s total farm produce.
The island-region accounts for 89 percent of the country’s pineapple production, 82 percent of the bananas, and 74 percent of coffee. The country’s 99 percent production of rubber also comes from Mindanao.
Meanwhile, a group of Japanese investors from Ernst & Young LLC has met with MinDA officials to explore possible partnerships on infrastructure, industrial park and renewable energy projects in Mindanao.
“Clearly, there are numerous opportunities and business prospects in Mindanao that we can seize and take advantage of under the current administration,” Alonto said.
“The future of Mindanao looks exciting that makes the region as the country’s next investment destination,” he said. (davaotoday.com)