MANILA – Lessons and best practices from other middle-income countries (MICs) can help the Philippines improve its poverty reduction and infrastructure programs towards inclusive growth, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). 

“The variety of experiences of the MICs in dealing with inequality offers a rare opportunity for learning lessons and sharing best practices toward scaling up of programs and activities that will help achieve inclusive growth, both nationally and globally,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan during the High-Level Conference of Middle-Income Countries in San Jose, Costa Rica on June 12, 2013. 

He noted that in the past two decades, substantial poverty reduction was achieved in developing countries brought about by the comparatively rapid economic growth in MICs, particularly in Asia. 

“For inclusive growth and prosperity, the MICs need to play a more active and unified role in forging a much improved environment for international trade, finance, and technology. The improvement is particularly crucial in the area of market access, especially for exports of developing countries, and access to technology,” said Balisacan. 

However, he pointed out that the connection between growth and poverty reduction varies quite enormously between regions of the world, between countries within a region, and between geographic areas and population groups within a country. 

“This opportunity for systematically-expanding knowledge and best practices needs to be enhanced within the MICs,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General. 

He identified India’s recent experience with the use of new technology to properly identify the deserving poor from the population, which reduced the leakage of program benefits to the non-poor 

“This shows that targeting programs to the poor need not be fiscally prohibitive,” the Cabinet official said. 

Similarly, he noted the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) schemes pioneered in Latin America, such as Brazil’s Bolsa Familia and Mexico’s Oportunidades, have helped those countries virtually won their war against acute poverty. 

“In Southeast Asia, informed by the Latin American experiences, the Philippines has embarked on a large-scale CCT program to complement its newly acquired status as one of the fastest growing Asian countries today. We hope to reap the same benefits from this program like what the Latin American countries have done,” said Balisacan. 

Furthermore, he identified public-private partnerships (PPPs) of having the potential of augmenting the public sector’s fiscal resources and for efficiently managing facilities that have traditionally been reserved to the public sector. 

“If structured properly, PPPs can be an effective instrument for inclusive business. Here is an area where the experiences of a number of MICs, such as Malaysia, may prove useful for designing the policy and legal framework for PPPs and up-scaling it in resource-scarce developing countries,” Balisacan explained. 

Also, he stressed that he potential for MICs to shape the global environment for trade is much stronger now than ever before in the history of modern commerce. 

“But cooperation-and-collaboration is the name of the game such as free slot machine game and slot machine mobile games that have led to increase middle-income growth.. There is much to be gained, for instance, from the deepening of South-South partnerships in trade, finance, and technology and innovations,” said Balisacan. 

The High-Level Conference of MICs, held from June 10 to 14, 2013, was hosted by the Government of Costa Rica and co-organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).