PH seeks Arab investments for Mindanao

    Rich resource. Thirty percent of Mindanao’s economy is derived from agriculture, and 40 percent of food produced in the country comes from the region. (MinDa photo)

    The Philippines is seeking investments from Arab countries on a wide range of sectors from agriculture to economic zone (ecozone) development to support the growth of Mindanao
    Greg Loayon, chairman of the Philippine Business Council Qatar, in his presentation at the Second Mindanao Business Summit last week, said potential collaborations can be explored between companies in Qatar and local government units in the Philippines in agriculture to serve the former’s requirements following its focus on food resiliency.

    Loayon also noted the potential for Islamic finance or Islamic banking following a collaboration with Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas as well as financial technology as Qatar is grooming itself as a hub for fintech.

    He added support services for artificial intelligence may also be provided from Mindanao in collaboration with Qatari companies.

    Loayon said these sit well with the Philippines’ advantage of having over 290 information technology parks.

    “With the amount of IT parks that we have where companies that are providing business process outsourcing for companies in the United States… (are) using talent from the Philippines in providing software support and development support. We have the talent in the Philippines and this needs to also be expanded into Mindanao,” Loayon said, noting the concentration of the IT parks around Metro Manila.

    Investments in renewable energy like solar and wind and in furniture are being promoted in companies in the Middle East and in Europe.

    In the same forum, Joseph Rivera, special adviser to the director-general of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority in Qatar said the agency has presented to Arab investors a number of projects in ecozone development.

    These include a 1,000-hectare (ha) multi eco zone proposal in Mauban, a 350-ha. retirement village eco zone in Guimaras and a 1,100-ha. agro industrial tourism, also in Guimaras

    The last one this is now under due diligence.

    Riversa said one of the recent investments from Qatar is SCCT Group, an an IT resilience company. – Irma Isip