THE PHILIPPINES is seeking a $400-million loan from the World Bank (WB) to support digital transformation initiatives.

“The proposed operation in the amount of $400 million is the first of a programmatic series of two development policy loans (DPLs) that aims to assist the government of the Philippines to foster an enabling environment for digital transformation, to boost inclusive and resilient economic growth,” according to a document uploaded on the World Bank website.

The World Bank is expected to approve the Philippines’ first digital transformation development policy financing on Dec. 8.

The project aims to improve digital government service delivery, and foster pro-competition infrastructure policies; expand financial inclusion for individuals and firms through digital finance; and boost business growth in digital services.

“Digitalization has a large potential to increase productivity by reducing firms’ operational costs and allowing them to reap economies of scale,” the World Bank said.

“Digital platforms and services offer great potential for helping build resilience and preparedness against future crises and for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Digital finance is (also) a key enabler of financial inclusion and women’s empowerment,” it added.

In January, the bank approved a $600-million loan to strengthen the financial sector’s stability and resilience.

As of 2021, the World Bank’s loans and grants represented 24% of official development assistance (ODA), making it the Philippines’ third-largest source of ODA.

This year, the National Government expects to obtain around $19.1 billion worth of ODA, with around $9.2 billion worth of loans coming from multilateral development partners. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson