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Over performing

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found the Philippines among the top over performing countries in terms of use of frontier technologies in its Technology and Innovation Report 2021 which provides a country readiness index for such technologies which include artificial intelligence, internet of things and big data.

The Philippines was the second greatest over performer, having a better showing than expected based on its per capita income. The country got an overall ranking of 44th out of 158 countries, overperforming by 57 ranking positions.

UNCTAD measures overperformance as the difference between the actual index rankings and estimated index rankings based on per capita income.

In ranking countries’ preparedness to make use of frontier technologies, the UNCTAD looked at the following: information and communications technology deployment, skills, research and development, industry activity and access to finance.

The Philippines got its highest ranking for industry activity, reflecting high levels of foreign direct investment in high technology manufacturing, particularly electronics. Like other top over performing countries, the country had low rankings in ICT connectivity and skills.

For developing countries to catch up, UNCTAD said frontier technologies, which are defining the world and the post-pandemic future, need to be adopted while diversifying production bases and strengthening innovation systems. These countries need to align science, technology and innovation policies with industrial policies. Furthermore, cooperation among government, industry and labor unions would be important to take advantage of frontier technologies to boost productivity.

To be able to adopt frontier technologies in production bases, UNCTAD said governments should look at how to equip the workforce with the necessary digital skills and competencies.

It is rare to see the Philippines over perform in any international index these days, especially when it comes to any form of readiness. This encouraging report should give our government, industry and the labor sector reason to leverage any advantages we have earned to better prepare the country for a post-pandemic future where frontier technologies could play a significant role. May this over performance in terms in readiness translate to tangible results for the sectors that stand to benefit from this head start in the use of frontier technologies.*

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