MANILA - The Philippines is on track to achieving its goal of becoming an upper middle income economy by next year, a World Bank economist said Monday.
The multilateral lender currently defines an upper middle income economy as having a per capita income of $3,895 to $12,055.
“If you see the range for that status, it is already very close to where the Philippines is right now,” said World Bank senior economist for the Philippines, Rong Qian.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said the Philippines will break into the ranks of upper middle income economies by 2019.
The Philippines is currently classified as a lower middle income country along with Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. Among the upper middle income economies in Asia are China, Malaysia, and Thailand. Taiwan, Singapore and Japan, meanwhile are dubbed as high-income economies.
The World Bank however also said that for the Philippines to achieve its long-term goal of becoming a prosperous country free of poverty by 2040, it will need to triple its per capita income in the next two decades.
The Philippines will need to grow at an annual average rate of 6.5 percent in the next 22 years, faster than its average growth rate of 5.3 percent since 2000, the World Bank said.
“The Philippines’ ability to sustain its current high growth rate will depend primarily on two factors: how the country can accelerate investment in improving its physical infrastructure, and how it can make better use of capital, labor, and technology to increase productivity,” said Mara K. Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.