Last updated: April 2017
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, and its second loan under guarantee from the Malaysian Federation, of which it was part at the time. It received its third loan in 1966, shortly 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. 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 (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 is also a founding funding member of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), having contributed US $10 million.
The WBG Singapore office opened in September 1999, initially as an external affairs representative office focused on linking with local networks for the purpose of knowledge sharing. In 2009, the WBG presence expanded with the establishment of the Singapore Infrastructure and Urban Hub, aimed to leverage the country’s expertise in urban development and infrastructure finance.
In September 2011, the WBG and Singapore agreed to expand their partnership. Added to the Urban Hub was the Public-Private Partnerships Cross Cutting Solution Area (PPP-CCSA), as well as offices for the IFC and MIGA. In time, the Controller (CTR), Corporate Finance and Risk Management (CFR), Treasury, and the Global Infrastructure Facility established units at the Singapore Hub.
On October 27, 2015, the agreement for the expansion of the World Bank Singapore Hub for Infrastructure and Urban Development was signed. 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 innovative development solutions to client countries, which includes supporting direct investments and credit enhancements for infrastructure development. Now the largest international organization based in Singapore with close to 200 staff, the Hub remains the only WBG office in the world that co-locates IBRD, IFC, and MIGA.