Water management and infrastructure construction are some of the attractions that Spanish companies find in the Philippines, which grows at an annual rate of 6% and offers interesting business opportunities.
"The Philippines has a spectacular need for infrastructure and right now is suffering from a major water crisis in Manila, and we want to participate in the search for solutions," Ruben Camba, regional director for Southeast Asia at Acciona, told Efe.
Acciona is one of the Spanish companies that this week participates in the Fair of Business Opportunities in the Philippines that is celebrated today and tomorrow at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), based in Manila, to publicize the portfolio of financed projects for this multilateral organization.
Acciona, installed in the Philippines since 2016, has completed its first project, a 150 million dollar water treatment plant in Manila and has won the concession to build the third bridge that will connect Cebu -second city by population- with the Island of Mactan.
Although the Philippines does not have a very open foreign investment law, the country needs foreign financing to boost sectors such as transport, tourism, waste management, water purification or renewable energy, the commercial advisor of the Embassy of Spain, Pedro Pascual.
Pascual stressed that the desire of the Philippines to develop a railway network, or light rail in the capital, are a good opportunity for Spanish companies, which have "the capacity and experience" in the sector.
Although the direct investment figures in the Philippines are modest, exports in 2018 reached 480 million euros, 14% more than the previous year, while imports remained at 270 million, a surplus favorable to Spain.
"Spanish companies have the capacity and quality to take on projects in the Philippines, there is a lot of competition, especially from Chinese and Japanese companies, but there is room for everyone," said Spanish ambassador Jorge Moragas.
For Ángel Gómez, director in the Philippines of Inclam -a company specializing in water engineering and climate change and with a presence in the country since 2013-, the country offers "enormous opportunities" for business since thousands of people still live without access to water.
Also the engineering and consulting firm Eptisa, which was installed in the Philippines in 2014 to develop water purification projects, aims to increase its business portfolio, said its director in the country, Gonzalo Ferreiros.