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By Cielito F. Habito

The Philippine Daily Inquirer-Dec 14

Do we have a clear idea of what we as an economy want to be known for in, say, 10 to 15 years? Years ago, Thailand announced it would be the “Kitchen of the World,” and focused on strengthening and promoting Thai cuisine at home (for foreign tourists) and overseas (via quality Thai restaurants). Thailand is now also known as the “Detroit of Southeast Asia,” hosting most of the car assembly in the region for export to the world. Singapore had long been known as a tourism and shopping mecca and has moved on to pursue other areas of excellence such as information technology. The city of Dubai in turn wanted to be the “Singapore of the Middle East,” and that’s what it is now, and more. When Vietnam, at the turn of the millennium, resolved to be a top producer of coffee in the world, the Vietnamese worked hard on it, and today they are second only to much larger Brazil in world coffee production and exports.

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First published in: The Philippine Daily Inquirer