MANILA: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will promote the Philippines as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region at the World Economic Forum, as he departed for the annual event in Davos on Sunday with hopes to attract new investment in the country.
The Swiss town of Davos will host dozens of world leaders and hundreds of CEOs from Jan. 16-20 for the second in-person gathering of the forum after a two-year pandemic hiatus.
Speaking ahead of his flight, Marcos said that the Philippines will be the focus of a country strategy dialogue at WEF, where he will promote the nation “as leader and driver of growth, and a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region.”
He described the Philippines as “(a country) that is open for business — ever ready to complement regional and global expansion plans … anchored on the competent and well-educated Filipino workers, the managers and professionals.”
Marcos is the only leader from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, reportedly attending Davos this year, and the only other Asian leader besides South Korea’s Yoon Suk-yeol.
The Filipino leader, accompanied by a delegation of officials and business leaders, said that he will also share his country’s experience “as a model” for managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Foreign Affairs Ministry said that Marcos may also use the forum to introduce the country’s sovereign wealth fund, which the president had said could spur growth and development in the archipelagic nation.
“The World Economic Forum is simply a great venue to do sort of a soft launch for our sovereign wealth fund given the prominence of the forum itself and the global and business leaders who will be there, and they will hear it directly from the president,” Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Carlos Sorreta said.
A draft law establishing the wealth fund is still being deliberated by the Philippine Congress.
The plan — which follows similar moves by neighbors Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia — could bring “added investment” to the Philippines, Marcos has said.
Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund was the focus of a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal, resulting in the country’s former premier Najib Razak going to prison.