Overview

  • Singapore is a high-income economy with a gross national income of US$54,530 per capita, as of 2017. The country provides one of the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs and is ranked among the world’s most competitive economies.

    In the decades after independence, Singapore rapidly developed from a low-income country to a high-income country. GDP growth in the city-state has been amongst the world’s highest, at an average of 7.7% since independence and topping 9.2% in the first 25 years.

    After rapid industrialization in the 1960s catapulted the island nation’s development trajectory, manufacturing became the main driver of growth. In the early 1970s, Singapore reached full employment and joined the ranks of Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan a decade later as Asia’s newly industrializing countries. The manufacturing and services sectors remain the twin pillars of Singapore’s high value-added economy.

    The overall growth of the Singapore economy was 3.2% in 2018. Value-added manufacturing, particularly in the electronics and precision engineering sectors, remain key drivers of growth, as are the services sector, particularly the information and communications industries, which grew 6.0% year-on-year, and the finance & insurance industries, which grew 5.9% year-on-year.  Economic growth is expected to moderate in 2019, with the government forecasting a range of 1.5% to 3.5%, projecting the rate to be slightly below the middle of the forecast range.

    In 2017, Singapore launched the regional finance hub ‘Asia’s Infrastructure Exchange’: “the go-to place where infrastructure demand and supply can connect, where infrastructure expertise and financing can be obtained and infrastructure needs are met.” In its announcement, the government highlighted the country’s strong ecosystem, one that integrates infrastructure players along the whole value chain – multilateral banks, private financiers, lawyers, accountants, engineers and other professional services.

    In the most recent World Bank Human Capital Index, Singapore ranks the best country in the world in human capital development. This means that a child born today in Singapore will be 88% as productive when she grows up, as if she enjoyed complete education and full health. Together with strong financial support from the government, the country continues to strengthen the nimbleness and flexibility of its workforce by providing continuing education such as the Skillsfuture initiative. Government spending on continuing education will nearly double, to more than S$1 billion yearly. 

    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

  • Singapore became the 104th member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) on August 3, 1966. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Singapore had received its first loan in 1963 under guarantee from the U.K. Government, and its second loan under guarantee from the Malaysian Federation, to which it then belonged. It received its third loan in 1966 after independence.

    Over the period 1963 to 1975, Singapore received 14 loans from the World Bank. The first ten were exclusively in the infrastructure sectors and included water interconnection, port expansion, sewage, power and telecommunications - reflecting the recommendations of a World Bank analysis in 1963 of Singapore's economy. “Most important for Singapore’s economic future in the long run," the report explained, "(are the government’s) investments in the economy’s infrastructure, (which) will shape the framework within which development takes place.”

    By 1970, Singapore's development focus expanded to investments in human capital and in the services sector, with the Bank supporting the capitalization of the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), the establishment of environmental management programs, and for the development of the national university. Support to infrastructure projects continued throughout.

    1975 saw the last World Bank financing for Singapore. By the mid-1980s, the loans were repaid.  

    Today Singapore is a member of all five World Bank Group institutions, and an important contributor of global initiatives such as the Global Infrastructure Facility, to which it contributed US $10 million, and the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities. It inspires many cities and countries striving to reach a similar level of development within one generation.

    The World Bank Group Singapore office opened in September 1999 to share knowledge with local networks. In 2009, the office expanded with the establishment of the World Bank - Singapore Urban Hub, aimed to leverage the country’s expertise in sustainable urban development.

    An agreement was struck in September 2011 to expand the partnership, and representatives from both the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) soon joined the Hub to strengthen its engagement with the private sector. The Hub's expansion continued, to include the Corporate Finance and Risk Management unit, IFC Treasury, IFC’s Asset Management Company, and the Global Infrastructure Facility.

    On October 27, 2015, the agreement for the expansion of the World Bank Singapore Hub for Infrastructure and Urban Development was signed, and the Hub - co-locating the World Bank, IFC, and MIGA - is the largest international organization based in Singapore. 

    Today, Singapore’s transformation into an international center for infrastructure finance, trade, and urban development, combined with World Bank Group expertise, helps inform the preparation of development solutions - including credit enhancements for infrastructure development - to client countries in the East Asia Pacific region and also countries in South Asia. 

    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

  • The World Bank Singapore Hub for Infrastructure and Urban Development promotes synergies across the World Bank Group, the co-location of teams from IBRDIFC and MIGA. The Infrastructure, PPPs, and Guarantees (IPG) group and the Global Infrastructure Facility work in partnership with staff from the Global Practices, including Energy and ExtractivesTransport and Digital DevelopmentUrban Development, and Water, making the Singapore office a true infrastructure hub. Together, the teams mobilize cross-GP support to initiatives in Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, the Philippines, Cambodia, and the Pacific Island countries. 

    IFC is also well represented at the Hub, with IFC Treasury operating a trading office and IFC Advisory Services for PPPs having its Asia hub here. Focused on advancing cross-border investments and mobilization of capital from and through Singapore, IFC also promotes urban development and the scaling up of disruptive technologies and new business models. Additionally, IFC engages with regional agribusiness players to promote sustainable practices.

    The World Bank Group in October 2018 signed an MoU with the Singapore government’s newly established Infrastructure Asia. Infrastructure Asia was established in 2017 by Enterprise Singapore, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a facilitation office for infrastructure and financing needs in the region, positioning Singapore as the regional infrastructure finance hub.

    This MoU is designed to bring about cross-learning benefits to both the World Bank Group and the Singapore infrastructure ecosystem, through leveraging networks, expertise and knowledge, in areas of knowledge exchange, infrastructure finance, implementation and operations. This includes various knowledge exchange programs, and the revamped Infrastructure Finance Summit, which is now in its 9th year running, with nine finance ministers from ASEAN countries participating last year, making itt he biggest yet having.

    An MoU was also signed in April 2019 between the World Bank and the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s water agency, on continuing to be a strategic partner to the Singapore International Water Week for 2020, 2022, and 2024.

    The World Bank Group remains Singapore's strategic partner in Singapore’s flagship knowledge events, such as the World Cities SummitInternational Water Week and International Energy Week.

    The Hub also delivers important research related to infrastructure and connectivity. A report on ASEAN connectivity helped shape the updating of the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC). The Global Infrastructure Connectivity Alliance, its Secretariat based in Singapore, will work across regions and disciplines to promote cooperation, knowledge exchange, and meaningful progress in the field of global inter-connectivity.

    Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019

LENDING

Singapore: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



Additional Resources

Contacts

World Bank Group Singapore Office
10 Marina Boulevard, Marina Bay Financial Center, Tower 2, #12-01 Singapore 018983
(65) 6517 1240
worldbank_singapore@worldbank.org