The critical role of innovation in public-private partnerships (PPPs) is highlighted during the second day of the Swiss Innovation Exhibit panel discussion as Ma. Cynthia C. Hernandez, Executive Director of the PPP Center presented the various innovations being adopted in the Philippine PPP Program, its current pipeline of projects, policy initiatives, and the plans to push forward national infrastructure growth through PPPs.
The innovation exhibit is part of a year-long celebration commemorating 65 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Switzerland.
Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Alain Gaschen opened day 2 of the exhibit. During his talk, Gaschen emphasized the need for improvements in the processing and approval of business permits and licenses and to make market conditions fair.
“This will push investments and innovations from the private sector,” the Swiss Ambassador said.
Speaking before guests of the panel discussions on PPPs, the PPP Center chief shared the value and role of PPPs as an alternative source of financing for Philippine infrastructure projects.
“As budget deficits tighten our current fiscal space, public-private partnerships offer an innovative and viable solution to push the infrastructure development agenda. Where there are limited funding resources for public infrastructure development projects, PPP helps by freeing up critical public funds for other priorities,” Hernandez said.
For investors to come in and put up shop in the Philippines, Hernandez explained that ease of doing business is still a top priority, especially among global investors. A sound environmental, social, and governance (ESG) platform is also increasingly a factor in deciding where to bring their business.
“These are some key considerations we are building into the design of PPP projects and transactions to stimulate investments and drive innovation,” she added.
The innovation exhibit also featured Swiss company Buhler AG, represented by its country head Markus Vontobel, and Minco Domingo, Managing Director at Avaloq Philippines ROHQ, who shared their stories on how innovation has pushed their respective companies to be more relevant and expand its reach to target clients.
Switzerland topped the United Nations Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2021 as the most innovative country in the world for the eleventh consecutive year. The country’s substantial investment in research and development has been the primary contributor to its continuous technological advancement.