PH JPN Business Forum with Pres Duterte and PM Abe light

Secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority briefs the delegation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on the potentials of Mindanao as the next investment destination of the Philippines. He said the island-region is experiencing an unprecedented improvement of its economy in the recent years, with numerous business prospects and opportunities under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A top government official from the southern island of Mindanao briefed the delegation of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe on the region’s investment potentials at a business forum held recently at the Waterfront Insular Hotel here in the city.

The forum, attended by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Prime Minister Abe is organized by the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with the Davao City Investment Promotion Center.

“Mindanao has been experiencing unprecedented improvements and significant developments in our economy in recent years,” said Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).

He added the island-region’s Gross Regional Domestic Product growth posted a 7.5 percent increase in 2014 which surpassed the national average of 6.2 percent.

More than 200 key Japanese government officials, private sector representatives and businesspersons from Mindanao participated in the Philippines-Japan Business Forum, which showcased Mindanao as the next investment destination in the Philippines.

Prime Minister Abe earlier pledged $8.7 billion worth of business opportunities and private investments for the country, upon his arrival on Thursday.

“Today’s forum is timely, since we will be able to update the Japanese delegation on the ongoing development initiatives in Mindanao and its prevailing business climate,” Secretary Alonto said.

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.

Secretary Alonto said the ten-fold increase in the last four years was buoyed by a capital investments in the energy sector with US$3.5 billion from 2011 to 2014.

“Mindanao has bountiful natural wealth as it is touted as the “Food Basket of the Philippines,” he said while adding, “it is blessed with favorable agro-climatic conditions, with fertile soils, and rich biodiversity which makes it suitable for food production and agribusiness development.

As of 2014, Mindanao’s agricultural land area 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.

As for the country’s livestock industry, Mindanao contributes 39 percent of the country’s production of goats and 44 percent of its cattle.

Just days ahead of Abe’s arrival, a group of Japanese investors from Ernst & Young LLC already 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,” said Alonto while adding “the future of Mindanao looks exciting that makes the region as the country’s next investment destination.”

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