Amid ongoing pandemic, PH ranks 51st in 2021 Global Innovation Index

The Philippines’ innovation ranking slipped to the 51st spot out of the 132 economies in this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII).


But the country remained at the fourth spot among the 34 lower middle-income group economies, and at the 11th spot among the 17 economies in South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania.

In 2020, the Philippines moved up four places in the rankings, reaching the 50th spot.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) is published by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

It aims to provide an innovation ranking and analysis referencing around 130 economies.

Catching up in innovations

The WIPO noted that the Philippines is one of four middle-income countries that are “systematically” catching up in innovation, together with Turkey, Vietnam, and India.

“All four Asian economies have romped up the ranks by an average of 22 positions in the past decade,” the WIPO said.

“It is noteworthy that these are particularly large economies, which have the potential to radically change the global innovation landscape for good,” it added.

The Philippines (24) is among the top 30 country’s in knowledge and technology outputs, while the neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam rank among the top 30 worldwide in market sophistication

“They are now leaders in key innovation indicators, too,” it said. “For instance, Thailand ranks first in R&D financed by business; and Vietnam and the Philippines are world leaders in High-tech exports.”

Innovation outputs, inputs

As for its innovation outputs, the Philippines further moved up to the 40th spot from 41st place in 2020, 42nd spot in 2019, and 68th spot in 2018.

But it went down to the 72nd place in the innovation inputs ranking from the 70th spot last year.

Strength and weaknesses

The Philippines is the global leader in high-tech imports and exports, as the country secured the first spot in both indicators.

Moreover, the country ranked high in graduates in science and engineering, ICT services exports, Knowledge absorption, Knowledge diffusion, creative goods exports, and firms offering formal training.

Meanwhile, among its weaknesses is its standing in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where Filipino students showed poor performance in Math, Science and Reading.

It also ranked low on scientific and technical articles, Global corporate R&D investors, ease of starting a business, ease of getting credit, printing and other media, cost of redundancy dismissal, venture capital investors.

Impacts of pandemic

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña lamented that the pandemic has disrupted the agency’s efforts in developing more innovations.

“The pandemic has obviously brought negative impacts in the implementation of our science, technology and innovation activities,” de la Peña said in a virtual briefing Tuesday, Sept. 21.

“In the first few months if the pandemic, it was like the world came to a halt, the whole country was in lockdown and the constraints in mobility limited our capabilities to continue most of the R&D initiatives being pursued,” he added.

But the DOST chief noted that the agency has focused its initiatives on R&D programs and projects that would be useful in this time of pandemic.

The GII, he said, serves as the country’s matrix and reference in assessing its science, technology and innovation standing in both the local and international science communities.

“We might have slipped a notch but the DOST remains committed in bringing science closer to society, empowering Filipino-made breakthroughs and innovations to increase productivity and drive prosperity,” de la Peña said.

“With such goal in mind, I am confident that our aspiration of belonging to the upper echelons of the GII innovation achievers is never far behind,” he added.