The Philippines has the potential to be an artificial intelligence (AI) powerhouse, according to the country’s trade chief, Ramon Lopez.
Secretary Lopez, who heads the county’s department of trade and industry (DTI) laid out his case to the University of the Philippines School of Economics Alumni Association (UPSEAA) in a recent talk on the current business climate and industry development initiatives of his department.
Citing the country's abundant human capital, especially graduates in technical fields such as science and engineering, as well as non-technical fields, as a competitive advantage.
“We see how AI becomes a great equaliser where our educated, highly skilled, and highly-motivated young population can make their mark,” said Secretary Lopez, speaking to his fellow alumni, composed of business executives, entrepreneurs, and economists.
“Everyone has a place under this new industrial regime, regardless of educational level, or background, or interest,” he added.
Secretary Lopez also cited various applications where AI could be used across the Philippines, including in agriculture, healthcare, finance, retail, transport, and smart cities.
It is expected that AI software revenue by industry will reach more than US$100 billion by 2025 while global AI business value is projected to reach US$5.8 trillion by 2022.
Secretary Lopez also shared the working framework for the formulation of the country’s AI strategy. “As we visualise this, we will obtain support from various stakeholders from national, regional, and local champions from schools and universities across the country as well as from industry giants,” he said.
The trade chief also outlined the highlights and key elements of inclusive, innovation-led, industrial strategy (i3S), which aims to grow innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services while strengthening their linkages into domestic and global value chains.
The Philippines government connects stakeholders and integrates the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem through the regional inclusive innovation centres (RIICs) present in different parts of the country.
“President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision is for the country to have creative and connected communities where innovators, start-ups, MSMEs, and large enterprises can collaborate to produce new products and services,” said Secretary Lopez.
“Working together can help us achieve our goal of generating inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all, most especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid,” he added.
He also provided updates on trade negotiations, export promotion, MSME development, consumer protection, as well as ease of doing business, while sharing various economic and policy reforms pushed by the administration that will boost foreign investments and promote job generation.