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Microenterprise, Will It Help The Philippines?

Since, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration is strongly supporting the SMEs, It is also good to note that even the issue of alleviating the poverty-situation in our country is being addressed by the government, one of which is through microenterprise.

Microenterprise has a capita of around 5-50 thousand pesos and is embraced by the entrepreneurial poor or labor poor. Microfinancing is PGMA's strategy for reducing poverty in the country. In order for developing countries to emerge from poverty, employment must be created and income generated for most people, thus the government saw the need to put investments in profitable ventures. Though it's not all heaven when one is engaged in microfinancing; still it gives hope to the poor to improve their plight. In fact, Australia is one country that has supported microfinance organizations benefiting hundreds of thousands of people in China, Sri Lanka, India, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Vanuatu and Bougainville.

So, if this is possible in other parts of the world, why can't it be applicable to ours? Philippines is known for its three major advantages - that are:

a) Young population averaging 20 years old. Contrast this with neighboring Japan, which has an average age close to 60 and the Philippines is a perfect match. An older population would need support from the young, presenting enormous opportunities in areas such as medical and retirement services. Moreover, Japan has one-third the world's savings of $100 billion dollars a year, a figure higher than our annual GDP of approximately $80 billion.

b) Rich natural resources. The Philippines is the 5th most mineralized country in the world. It is blessed with natural endowments like fertile soil that can help supply the dietary needs of China, now fast becoming one of the largest importers of food for its growing population of 1.3 billion people. This poses huge opportunities for those in the food and beverage sector.

Another growth market would be Filipinos working overseas. Now numbering around 8 million, they represent an $80 million market if each were to spend just $10 a day on food from the Philippines.

c) Strategic Location. The Philippines is a natural choice as a base for business particularly in the field of logistics because it is an ASEAN gateway to North America and Europe. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea international shipping and air lane trade routes, the country is a critical entry point for over 500 million people in the ASEAN market. (Source: DTI Secretary Cesar V. Purisima: Harbinger of Hope article, Business Line Vol. 2 No. 4 2004)

Given those advantages, the Philippines is also richly populated by highly creative and determined individuals. If the talented, enterprising poor is funded, our country would achieve PGMA's vision of reducing poverty.

Microcredit is done in this program which will help poor people, especially poor rural women, with tiny loans-so they can start small, create self-employment and improve their lives.

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