Ateneo Policy Center hosts round table discussion with conglomerate strategy heads on inclusive development
08 Feb 2019
The Ateneo Policy Center hosted a round table discussion (RTD) with the heads of corporate strategy of some of the Philippines’ largest conglomerates last February 6, 2019 as part of its on-going study on “Conglomerates and Inclusive Markets: Building a Market Innovation Ecosystem.” The meeting was part of a larger study by APC examining how big busines can further contribute to poverty reduction in the country.
Presenting data on the paradox of the country’s steady growth, APC researchers discussed their ongoing research on the country’s imbalanced and non-inclusive growth, with key gaps in sectors like agriculture and fisheries, as well as regions like those in Mindanao. Corporate strategy heads acknowledged that though their companies may already be engaged in activities that benefit the poor by providing employment or affordable products & services, many other market gaps still need to be addressed in order to truly “move the needle” on development.
For some senior managers, the strong showing of growth in conglomerates’ revenues throughout the years may be attributed to big businesses’ capitalization and efficiency achieved from economies of scale. At the same time, they recognized that large firms can use these advantages to better invest in sectors vital to the economy’s sustained and more inclusive growth, such as infrastructure, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Nevertheless, there was general agreement that many of the roadblocks in promoting inclusiveness are rooted in governance issues. Furthermore, without a clear gameplan and a more practical risk-sharing mindset by the public sector, concrete actions in addressing market gaps and failures become even more challenging.
Planned as part of an ongoing dialogue with the private sector, this RTD provided a venue to identify concrete strategies to move the national development agenda forward.
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