Overview

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    Singapore is a high-income economy with a gross national income of US$52,600 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.

    Fluctuations in the global economy have slowed down economic expansion to 2% in 2016; overall growth recovered to 3.6% in 2017. Value-added manufacturing, particularly in the electronics and precision engineering sectors, remain key drivers of growth, as are the services sector, particularly the transport and storage industries, which grew 5.3% year-on-year, and the finance and insurance industries, which grew 6.3% year-on-year. Economic growth is expected to moderate in 2018, with the government forecasting a range of 1.5% to 3.5%, projecting the rate to be slightly above the middle of the forecast range.

    In 2017, Singapore launched this regional finance hub as ‘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 highlights 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. The initiative, which will include the establishment of an Infrastructure Office, also presents the World Bank Group Singapore Hub as an important partner for the country - and the partnership strives to mobilize more financing for the delivery of sustainable and inclusive infrastructure.

    Another growth area: value-creating industries and jobs, where new products and services are created from Singapore. With strong financial support from the government, the Skillsfuture initiative aims to strengthen the nimbleness and flexibility of the workforce by providing continuing education that deepens technical and managerial skills across sectors.  Government spending on continuing education will nearly double, to more than S$1 billion yearly. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • 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 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 19, 2018

  • The Singapore Hub promotes synergies across the World Bank Group, the co-location of teams from IBRD, IFC 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 Extractives, Transport and Digital Development, Urban 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.

    In September 2016, an MOU was signed between the World Bank Group and the National University of Singapore, designed to broaden collaboration and advance policy research that address global development challenges. The World Bank Group remains Singapore's strategic partner in its flagship knowledge events, such as the World Cities Summit, International Water Week and International Energy Week. The 2018 annual Infrastructure Finance Summit with the Financial Times, now in its eighth year, was the biggest yet, with nine finance ministers from ASEAN countries participating in the event. 

    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. The Global Platform for Sustainable Cities, also managed from the Singapore Hub, is working to expand its membership of 27 cities, and supports the preparation of country frameworks for sustainable cities. 

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

  • World Bank Governor

    Each member country is represented within the World Bank Group by a governor, who is generally the finance minister or the minister of development of the country concerned, and whose powers extend in particular to authorizing capital increases, approving financial statements, accepting or electing to suspend new members at the Annual Meetings.

    The governor for Singapore is Heng Swee Keat, the Minister of Finance. The alternate governor is Permanent Secretary Ching Yee Tan of the Ministry of Finance.

    World Bank Executive Director

    The governors delegate some of their functions to Executive Directors. These individuals meet as needed to decide on the proper response to proposals from the President of the World Bank Group with regard to extending loans and deciding upon policies to guide the general operations of the institution. The Executive Director for Southeast Asia, which includes Singapore, is Mr. Andin Hadiyanto.

    Shares and Voting Power

    The member countries of the World Bank Group have a given number of shares in the capital of the institution of which they are members; this number of shares determines their voting power when decisions are reached by the Board of Executive Directors.

    Singapore holds 0.27% of the shares in IBRD, with 0.28% of voting powers, and holds 0.10% of the voting power in IDA.  For IFC and MIGA, Singapore has a 0.04% and 0.23% of voting powers, respectively.

    For the latest voting status, please visit the Voting Powers page.

    For information on Singapore’s aid flows as a donor, please visit AidFlows.

    Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018

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
Contact
Dini Djalal
Senior Communications Officer
ddjalal@worldbank.org