While the rest of the world scrambles to overcome the current global recession, the Philippines has been experiencing record levels of economic growth. The island country has benefited greatly from increases in government efficiency, as well as a crack down on political corruption. The gross domestic product of the Philippines has grown 6.4 percent in the first quarter, which surpasses the performances of all other neighboring economies except China, and its currency, the peso, has reached record heights in the past four years when compared to the dollar. As a sign of the country's unprecedented economic progression, the Philippines has pledged $1 billion (USD) of its $70 billion in reserves to the International Monetary Fund to aid the European Union, which is the same fund that rescued the country in the 1980s.
Among other factors, economists have noted that the Philippines' high population growth rate has been the engine of the Philippine economy. In the Philippines, about 61 percent of the population is within the country's legal working age of 15 to 64. This statistic is expected to continue rising, which differs sharply with the declining population trends of its southeast Asian neighbors. According to Frederic Neumann, a senior economist at HSBC in Hong Kong, "the Philippines will remain competitive due to the sheer abundance of workers joining the labor force." The Philippine's growing population also includes the estimated 9.5 million Filipinos working outside of the country. This demographic, which is about 10 percent of the overall population, imported about $20 billion to the country in 2011, which is nearly a $12 billion increase since 2003.
Despite these statistics, the surging Philippine economy still faces some stumbling blocks. The Philippines are hit by several different kinds of natural disasters every year, including recent flooding that submerged 50 percent of the capital Manila. As a result of the country's storm record, the Philippines has been noted as one of the most hazard-prone places on the globe. These statistics have played a harsh role in determining patterns of foreign investment, especially in areas highly affected by storms, where investment has tended to nearly disappear in the wake of the destruction. The Philippines has also been known to under-exploit its natural resources, such as the country's 21.5 billion tons of deposits of nickel, iron, copper, and gold that have yet to make any substantial economic impact.
Evidently, the Philippines has improved its ability to weather these storms, for the country is expected to be the 16th largest global economy by 2050 (currently ranked at 44). In the public services sector, the country's customer service call centers have benefited greatly from the ample amount of young English speakers, having recently surpassed India as the world's leading provider of voice-based outsourcing services. These call centers employed nearly 700,000 Filipinos in 2011, which produced $11 billion, a 24 percent increase from 2010, for the Philippine economy. Clearly, the Philippines' large population of young, adequate English speakers has been making waves in the south Pacific economic scene, and if current trends hold, will indisputably shine as a hotspot for foreign investment.