Last updated: April 2015
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 (WBG), Singapore had received the first loan in 1963 under guarantee from the U.K. Government, its second loan under guarantee from the Malaysian Federation, of which it was part at the time, and its third loan in 1966, shortly after independence.
Over the period 1963-75, Singapore received 14 loans from the World Bank. The first ten were in the infrastructure sectors exclusively and included water interconnection, port expansion, sewage, power and telecommunications. This closely followed the findings of an economic analysis of Singapore conducted by the Bank in 1963 which concluded, “Most important for Singapore’s economic future in the long run, [the Government’s] investments in the economy’s infrastructure will shape the framework within which development takes place.” By 1970, the program became more diverse and included capitalization of the Development Bank of Singapore (now the region’s largest commercial bank, DBS) as well as environmental management and education. Support to infrastructure, however, continued throughout.
Singapore is a member of all five World Bank Group institutions, namely the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Singapore’s commitment to IDA17 stands at $52 million. Singapore is also a founding funding member of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), having contributed US $10 million.
The WBG Singapore office opened on September 1, 1999. Initially, the WBG Singapore office was an external affairs representative office focused on linking with local networks for the purpose of knowledge sharing. The WBG engagement with Singapore expanded in 2009 with the establishment of the Singapore Infrastructure and Urban Hub. The Singapore Infrastructure and Urban Hub leveraged Singapore’s expertise in urban development and infrastructure finance.
In September 2011, the WBG and Singapore agreed to expand their partnership. The WBG expanded the Urban Hub with the Infrastructure Policy Group of the Sustainable Development Network (since folded into the PPP-CCSA or Public-Private Partnerships Cross Cutting Solution Area), an IFC office and the Asia regional MIGA office in Singapore. In addition, Controller (CTR), Corporate Finance and Risk Management (CFR), Treasury and FPD’s Competitive Industries Practice (CI) established units in Singapore. IFC’s Global Infrastructure Fund was located in Singapore in FY13.
The agreement on the Singapore Hub aims to combine Singapore’s unique development experience and financial sector strengths, especially in urban development, infrastructure finance, competitive industries development and financial management with WBG practices in these areas to deliver better results to clients. The Hub has been steadily growing and is on the brink of a major expansion.