Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


Table of Contents

Portrait of a Filipina at a local market. © ACDI-CIDA/David Barbour


The Republic of the Philippines has made progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It has achieved gender equality in education, reduced the mortality rate among children aged five and under, reduced the incidence of tuberculosis cases, and increased access to water and sanitation services. The country has strong potential for development because of its natural and human resources.

Nevertheless, the Philippines still ranks 114 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index. Progress is threatened by economic and social inequality, as well as by regional disparities, especially in the conflict-affected provinces of the island of Mindanao. Ensuring that social services reach the poor remains a major challenge. Women in the labour force are confined largely to low-wage, low-productivity jobs and have limited access to land ownership, credit, and training. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods have resulted in severe losses of life and property and have constrained efforts to reduce poverty. Almost one out of four Filipinos lives on less than US$1.25/day.

Although economic growth in the last five years has averaged around 5.1 percent, it is vulnerable, relying heavily on remittances from millions of overseas Filipino workers. These remittances fluctuated with job losses during the recent global financial crisis. At the same time, there was a reduced demand for the country's exports. The investment climate suffers from low competitiveness and a high cost of doing business.

Weak governance is recognized as a key constraint to sustained economic growth and poverty reduction in the country. However, as a strong democratic republic, the government has been able to initiate a number of governance reforms. The Philippines has a vibrant private sector and an active civil society, both important partners in development.

Thematic Focus

Canada's program is aligned with the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan.

The goal of Canada's international development assistance program in the Philippines is to support sustainable economic growth by improving the climate for investment and protecting the economic interests of the poor.

Economic growth

Canada supports efforts to help the Philippines strengthen the investment climate by working with national and local governments to:

  • Simplify business regulations and processes
  • Improve sector-specific value chains, that is the full range of activities to bring a product from an idea to production, to delivery, to consumers, to disposal after use
  • Help selected local government agencies implement their economic development plans

In order to protect the economic interests of the poor, Canada is working to increase the capacity of government and non-government organizations to deliver programs and services that help poor women and men entrepreneurs:

  • Develop business skills
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve access to financing and markets
Selected examples of expected results
  • More than 5,000 businesses will benefit from simplified registration, licensing, and taxation processes, reducing the time and cost of doing business
  • The number micro-entrepreneurs, particularly women, connected to markets will increase by 50 percent
  • The income poor farmer micro-entrepreneurs will increase by 40 percent

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

The Philippines adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PDF, 317 KB, 23 pages) and has taken steps to improve donor alignment and harmonization, strengthen local ownership, and integrate results-based management systems. Canada is helping to strengthen government procurement systems and is participating in joint donor activities.


Achievements 2011-2012

Economic growth

  • Helped 1,374 entrepreneurs and enterprise workers increase their productivity and incomes by improving their knowledge and skills in business planning, marketing and agriculture
  • Increased the incomes of beneficiaries participating in a local economic development project by an average of Php 500 to 5,000 per month ($11 to $116)
  • Helped 184 women microenterprise groups with 10,787 members gain access to business skills development programs and services offered by national and local governments and link to finance, technology and markets
  • Helped develop the government's public-private partnership program to stimulate private investment in infrastructure by improving its governance framework and strengthening its capacity to develop, competitively tender and monitor implementation of projects
  • Continued to help the government streamline business registration by creating an online help desk and redesigning the monitoring and evaluation system to track compliance

Achievements 2010-2011

Economic growth

  • Helped 126 local government units simplify their business registration processes to reduce the cost of doing business
  • Trained more than 1,300 national government agency officials to integrate women's economic empowerment into economic development planning
  • Helped 5,687 women increase their skills, link to credit opportunities and improve their marketing
  • Provided business support services such as improved connections to domestic and international markets, access to finance, and better product quality and packaging support to 42 organic rice, sugar cane and seaweed farmers' microenterprises
  • Helped three banana farms, newly certified by the Rainforest Alliance, sell to Japan and increase their production by 11 percent and income by 43 percent
  • Helped 776 farmers and entrepreneurs (63% of which are women) increase their employability and productivity by improving their knowledge of agribusiness, rice production and ecotourism

Achievements 2009-2010

Economic growth

  • Helped create 1,600 jobs through advice to small businesses
  • Helped 7,000 farmers in 42 rural communities increase their income, productivity and access to markets
  • Helped three banana farms receive Rainforest Alliance certification, allowing access to premium markets
  • Reduced average production cost for organic rice farmers from 20,000 pesos per hectare for conventional farming to 11,000 pesos for organic farming, increasing productivity and income of poor farmers
  • Created a small to medium enterprise banking unit and disbursed more than $373,000 to 66 new clients between 2005 and 2011

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