Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/ File Photo

Private equity firm KKR & Co has pledged to invest $400 million in the Philippines’ telecoms tower operations, according to an announcement by the US Department of Commerce. KKR will develop and acquire approximately 2,000 towers to support digital connectivity across the country. This investment follows a two-day trade and investment mission led by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, which resulted in the Philippines securing over $1 billion in commitments from American firms, including Google, Visa, and Microsoft.

The Philippines has struggled to attract foreign investment due to issues such as policy uncertainty, weak infrastructure, and red tape. However, this week has been a success for the country in terms of attracting investment. In addition to the US pledges, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr recently secured investment assurances during a three-day working visit to Germany, bringing the total investment pledges to about $5 billion from German and American firms across various sectors.

Microsoft, which was part of the US delegation, also announced plans to train 100,000 Filipino women in artificial intelligence technology and cybersecurity, and is reportedly working with the Philippine central bank and the ministries of budget and trade to identify how its AI products can help boost productivity.

The investment in telecoms tower operations is in line with the Philippines’ development priorities of improving connectivity and becoming a “digital nation”. The country has a growing telecommunications sector, with a high-speed internet penetration rate and a large number of mobile users. The investment by KKR, a global investment firm specializing in real assets, is expected to further boost the country’s telecom infrastructure. KKR will work with Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, a telecom tower operator, to develop and acquire the towers.

Overall, the investment by KKR and other American firms is a positive development for the Philippines, which is seeking to improve its national infrastructure and attract more foreign investment to support its development goals, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.