PHL slips 10 notches in frontier tech readiness index in 2022—Unctad


FROM 44th place in 2021, the Philippines slipped 10 notches in the Frontier Technologies Readiness Index, dropping to 54th spot among 166 economies in the world, a 2022 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) showed.

While the Philippines’s rank dipped, Unctad said it is one of several economies in Asia that performed “better than expected according to their GDP per capita.”

“India remains the greatest overperformer, ranking at 67 positions better than expected, followed by the Philippines (54 positions better) and Viet Nam (44 better),” Unctad said in its statement on Thursday.

The index ranks 166 countries based on ICT, skills, research and development, industrial capacity and finance indicators. Unctad noted that the United States, Sweden and Singapore received the highest scores in 2022.

Based on their rankings, countries are placed within one of four 25-percentile score groups: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high. The Philippines belongs to the upper middle score group.

According to the Frontier Technologies Readiness Index, The Philippines ranks 94th in information and communications technologies (ICT); 79th in Skills; 52nd in Research and Development (R&D); 3rd in Industry, and 80th in Finance.

Unctad noted that the index shows countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa are the least ready to harness frontier technologies and are at risk of missing current technological opportunities.

Unctad called on governments in developing countries to “align” environmental, science, technology, innovation and industrial policies. It urged them to prioritize investment in greener and more complex sectors, to provide incentives to shift consumer demand toward greener goods and to boost investment in research and development.

“As developing countries respond to today’s urgent interconnected crises, they also need to take strategic, long-term action to build innovation and technological capacities to spur sustainable economic growth and increase their resilience to future crises,” Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of Unctad’s technology and logistics division, said.

For the Philippines, Unctad noted that its Department of Science and Technology (DOST) supports R&D projects in line with green technology innovation.

Unctad also recognized that the Philippine Science and Technology department is pushing for the passage of the Science for Change Bill, which it said “provides programs for establishing R&D centers and collaborative R&D between academia and industry.”

“This initiative bolsters the productivity and competitiveness of industry players and drives R&D on renewable forms of energy and green technologies,” Unctad said.

In terms of financial support, Unctad mentioned that the Philippines is among the countries that have established innovation and technology funds, sometimes in collaboration with international donors or multinational development banks.

Its small enterprise technology program (SETUP) offers seed funds for acquiring technology along with training and other forms of support. This, Unctad noted, is a contribution from [United Nations Industrial Development Organization] UNIDO.

Unctad noted that developing countries cannot take advantage of green technologies on their own. Much of the success of their domestic policies will depend on global cooperation through international trade.