An Island Economy with a Global Outlook
Centrally located in the Asia-Pacific region, Mindanao is attracting investment, creating jobs, and improving the lives and incomes of its people. Mindanao is quickly becoming a "gateway to opportunity" with a vast natural and human resource base and locational advantages for agribusiness, industry and tourism. Abundant Agriculture and Rich Natural Resources Mindanao's 102,000 square kilometers of land, comprising one- third of the Philippines' total land area is blessed with abundant year-round rainfall and is sheltered in the country's only typhoon- free zone. These factors allow year-round production of a wide variety of crops. Mindanao leads the country in production and export of banana, pineapple, corn, coffee, coconut, durian, raw rubber, palm oil, cotton, cutflowers, seaweed and high-value tuna. Mindanao is also a major producer of livestock, mango and crabs. Additionally, Mindanao is rich in Metallic mineral resources and, including gold, nickel, zinc and manganese. Its many natural and cultural attractions make the island one of the most exciting tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. A Rapidly Expanding Economy
Mindanao, with agri-based and export-oriented economy, has for decades been home to many successful national and multinational agri- business firms. The agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors accounted for about 41% of total Mindanao output in 1995, with industry contributing 25% and services 34%. Between 1993 and 1995, exports grew at an average annual rate of 18% and during the same period, investment in the island increased at an average annual rate of 31%.
The People of Mindanao
With a population of over 16 million people, Mindanao is home to a quarter of the Philippines' total population. The people of Mindanao are relatively young with two out of five people under 15 years old. Half of the population is of working age. Mindanao's labor force is well-educated, trainable, highly- skilled and conversant in English.
A Focus on Infrastructure Development
In keeping with the national aspiration of becoming another "Asian Tiger", Mindanao has initiated a massive infrastructure program focusing on the upgrade and expansion of telecommunications and the physical integration of the whole island. A modern telecommunications network, incorporating IDD-NDD, cellular, Internet, fax, telegram and satellite broadcasting, already services all major sites and is now being expanded to rural areas.
The arterial road network, connecting all major population centers, has been constructed and all segments are either paved or in the process of being paved. Many of the island's primary air and seaports have been established that integrates Mindanao with the island's southern neighbors. The people of Mindanao are building a vibrant economy led by globally competitive agri-enterprises and supported by modern infrastructure.
Regional trade will increase dramatically with the recently established Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a consumer market of 45 million. The EAGA is composed of the entire country of Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia's Irian Jaya, Maluku, Sulawesi and Kalimantan regions; Malaysia's Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan; and the Philippines' Mindanao and Palawan.
BIMP-EAGA brings to fore Mindanao's regional potential as a food supplier, major transshipment point, important production center and a leisure destination; all due to its central location in the growth area. Investment opportunities for Mindanao in the context of BIMP-EAGA are in agro-processing, mineral exploration and processing, steel and petrochemical industries manufacturing and tourism.
Growth centers in the Cagayan-Iligan Corridor, SOSKSARGEN and Metro Davao host vigorous and quickly expanding economies that are ready to respond to the challenges of global trade. These and other growth centers in Caraga, Cotabato and Zamboanga make Mindanao the Philippines' most dynamic engine of growth.