The Philippines is one of the middle-income economies that posted a significant improvement in its ranking in the 2023 Global Innovation Index (GII) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
In this year’s edition of the GII rankings, the Philippines ranked 56th out of 132 countries, from 90th in the 2013 edition.
Among the 37 lower middle-income economies, the Philippines ranked 4th, trailing behind India, Vietnam and Ukraine.
“A group of emerging economies are consistently climbing the GII ranks, showing how a focus on the innovation ecosystem can make a difference,” said WIPO Director General Daren Tang.
“We are witnessing exponential progress in digital technologies and many fields of deep science. This is providing a boost to innovation across sectors and holds the hope of providing solutions to some of our world’s complex problems,” Soumitra Dutta, the GII’s co-editor, added.
The Philippines is banking on innovation to “sustain rapid and inclusive growth.” The government unveiled its National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document (NIASD) 2023-2032 in Manila last Wednesday.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on the academe and the private sector to assist the government in implementing the NIASD. He stressed the importance of the support of private stakeholders in mainstreaming the culture of innovation, which he said will be spearheaded by scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and private citizens.
He called the academe the “forefront of innovation” since it serves venues for the “incubation of talent, of skills, and ideas that will shape the future.”
Businesses, he said, play the crucial role of “financing innovation-driven programs and projects.”
“These undertakings serve as catalysts to achieve our overall developmental agenda,” he said.
He pointed out that the government is ready to provide the necessary support to the said “innovation actors” through the NIASD, which includes improving the country’s education system.
“We shall reform our education curriculum design and learning platforms to develop the creativity, curiosity, problem-solving skills, and entrepreneurial abilities of Filipinos for the 21st century,” the chief executive said.
The NIASD contains provisions to support the private sector, which includes the government increasing its spending for research and development and support for local enterprises.
It also prioritizes the construction of more infrastructure projects and cutting-edge facilities, which can stimulate more innovation.
“To further nurture this innovative spirit, I, therefore, extend our call for collaboration amongst all stakeholders, including those coming from our partners abroad,” Marcos said.
The new 10-year NIASD will focus on implementing innovation learning and education; health and well-being; food and agribusiness; finance; manufacturing and trade; transportation and logistics; public administration; security and defense; energy; blue economy and water.
Last February, the National Economic and Development Authority announced it approved 19 projects worth P115 million to help promote local innovation.
The world’s top innovators are Switzerland, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom.
“Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore lead; China, Türkiye, India, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Indonesia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the middle-income economies making most headway in innovation over the last decade,” WIPO said.
It added that while Thailand (43rd) and Vietnam (46th) “consolidated” their positions in the top 50, the Philippines is “getting closer” to joining its neighbors in Southeast Asia.
“Vietnam and the Philippines continue marching forward, after a setback in 2022, gaining two and three ranks, respectively,” the GII report noted.
Under the Institutions category, the report indicated that the country posted “income group strength” in Government effectiveness and Regulatory quality. In contrast, its weaknesses are Regulatory environment, Rule of law, and cost of redundancy dismissal.
Under the Human capital and research, Tertiary education and QS university ranking, were its income group strengths. Meanwhile, the country’s weaknesses under this category are Education, PISA scales in reading, maths and science, and pupil-teacher ratio, secondary.
Under the infrastructure category, the country’s “income group strength” is its logistics performance. In contrast, its weakness is its environmental performance.
“The GII is not simply a measuring tool; it is a key instrument that empowers stakeholders across public and private sectors by allowing them to gauge the impact of their policies and strategies, thereby enabling informed decision-making to drive and enhance shared progress,” Doutta said.