According to figures given by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, the number of Filipino firms in the emirate of Dubai has reached 792, as the appetite for Philippine cuisine and other products continues to expand.
Lopez, who is also the Philippine Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, stated that numerous Filipino quick-service restaurants and other Filipino companies thrive in the UAE as a result of the growing interest among foreigners and the growing number of Filipino employees in the UAE.
Filipinos are the Gulf country’s third-largest expatriate community.
“Business, cultural and people-to-people relations are positive factors that bring the Philippines and the UAE much closer than before. Hopefully, we can sustain this positive growth in relations,” according to Lopez.
Lopez stated that the DTI provides training programs to assist migratory Filipino employees around the world in establishing their own startup enterprises for a more sustainable source of income.
“Over 10,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) across the globe, including their families in the Philippines, went through our training,” Lopez said.
“In other words, we want to teach them how to fish rather than giving them fish or they relying on the given fish alone.”
MSMEs create 70% of jobs
Thousands of OFW families have already created businesses in the Philippines, largely micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with government assistance, according to the minister, though he did not have an exact number.
MSMEs employ 70% of the workforce in the Philippines. “They are also the type of businesses that are dispersed around the country, both urban and rural. As a result, we must save MSMEs to preserve jobs and income generation,” Lopez added.
During the epidemic, online companies grew in popularity. During the first half of 2020, there were only roughly 1700 registered internet enterprises, but by the end of the year, that number had grown to 88,000 — a 40-fold increase, he noted.
Opportunities at Expo Dubai
According to Lopez, the Philippines wishes to work closely with the UAE to achieve food security.
“The Philippines and the UAE share similar national goals and we would like to really work closely with the UAE towards achieving food security.
The UAE investors are encouraged to look into agribusiness and agriculture in the Philippines because that is a big sector in our country,” Lopez added in a recent Zoom interview from Manila.
Food and agriculture in the Philippines and potential cooperation in these sectors between both countries [along with other topics] will be discussed at business roundtables at the Philippine pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020, which will be held from 1st October 2021 to 31st March 2022”, he said.
Bangkóta, the Philippines’ pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, would reflect the country’s beauty as well as its priorities, according to Lopez.
The country has prioritized trade and investment industries to be promoted during the Expo. The agenda for the business roundtables will include topics such as energy, food, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, property development, and equity investment.
A government roundtable agenda will include agricultural and tourism, economic and cultural linkages, people-to-people exchanges, and high-level visits.
“We will present our business investment strategy, essentially covering the global positioning, investment promotion to the UAE – the Philippines as a competitive and innovative nation,” Lopez said.