As we explained in previous posts, digital technologies present both threats and opportunities for the employment agenda in developing countries. Yet many countries lack the means to take full advantage of these opportunities, because of limited access to technology, a lack of skills, and the absence of a broad enabling environment, the so-called “analog” complements.
The Philippines is not the typical East Asian miracle story. While the region's share of population living in extreme poverty (on less than US$1.25 a day) has declined by 75 percent since 1990, the speed of poverty reduction in the Philippines over this period was the slowest in East Asia. Similarly, the Philippines has experienced slower per capita growth — averaging 1.5 percent between 1960 and 2012, well below the 5.6 percent that East Asia has enjoyed. Moreover, the jobs picture is quite bleak, with 75 percent of employment in the informal sector. So what's wrong with the Philippines?
In 2011, the Philippines launched the Specialista Technopreneurship Program to stimulate economic growth and help provide employment to graduates of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), especially in the rural areas. We learned more about the program works from Maria Susan Dela Rama, Executive Director for Planning of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)—the government agency that regulates TVET.