ADDRESSING gaps in agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, and education is needed to enhance the country’s competitiveness, Ayala Corp. Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA) said.

In his keynote speech at the Management Association of the Philippines inaugural meeting in Taguig City on Thursday, Mr. Zobel emphasized the need for collaborative efforts across institutions for “exponential growth and equitable progress” to position the Philippines as globally competitive in the next 40 years.

“To illustrate the scale of the challenge, the government aims to nearly triple income per capita to $11,000 by 2040, compared to just around $3,950 today,” Mr. Zobel said, emphasizing the significant gap compared to Singapore’s per capita income of $82,807 in 2022.

He identified gaps in agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, and education as opportunities to create value, stressing the necessity for collective efforts to address challenges related to climate change, economic inequities, and elevating living standards.

He also acknowledged the challenges faced by the country’s agriculture sector due to persistent structural issues and expressed hope for increased private sector participation in addressing these challenges.

In terms of infrastructure, Mr. Zobel called for larger investments to make the Philippines more attractive, considering its relatively low foreign direct investment (FDI) compared to other economies in the region.

On the impact of the pandemic, Mr. Zobel underscored the need for improvements in healthcare capacity, including an increase in hospital capacity and a higher number of healthcare practitioners.

On education, he acknowledged a “creeping learning challenge” among young Filipinos and emphasized the importance of support and investment to enhance literacy, mathematics, and science performance.

“We note the tremendous contributions of various groups, such as Philippine Business for Education along this front. We are likewise dedicating capital in this sector, together with the Yuchengco Group, through iPeople,” he said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave