Overview

Last updated: April 2017

Singapore is a high-income economy with a gross national income of $52,090 per capita (Atlas Method), as of 2015. 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 grew at an average of 7.7% since independence; in the first 25 years, growth topped 9.2%. Per capita GDP over the same periods grew by 5.4% and 7.2%.

Rapid industrialization took momentum in the 1960s. By the end of the decade, manufacturing had led the country’s economic 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 strong and are the twin pillars of Singapore’s economy. There is a wide range of businesses, with a particular focus on high value added activities.

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.

Last updated: April 2017

The Singapore Hub works across WBG units to promote synergies across organizations, through the co-location of the World Bank, IFC and MIGA. The Public-Private Partnerships Cross Cutting Solutions Area (PPP-CCSA) and Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) offices work in partnership with staff from the Global Practices, including energy and extractives, transport, ICT, urban development, and water, making Singapore a true infrastructure hub.

In addition, IFC's Treasury operates a trading office out of Singapore and IFC’s Advisory Services in public-private partnerships now has its Asia hub based in Singapore. The Competitive Industries (CI) Practice supports countries as they develop their economic potential in diverse industries. CTR, CFR and Treasury provide clients knowledge on and access to innovative financing instruments.

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 is also strategic partner in Singapore’s flagship knowledge events such as the World Cities Summit, International Water Week and International Energy Week.

With close to 200 experts in their respective fields based in Singapore, the Hub is becoming a ‘Solutions Laboratory’ for the East Asia and Pacific region, mobilizing cross-GP support to country program initiatives in the Philippines, Timor Leste, and Indonesia.

The Hub is also initiating significant research related to infrastructure and connectivity; for example, 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: April 2017

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 Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The alternate governor is Permanent Secretary Peter Ong Boon Kwee 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 0.02% of the shares in IBRD, with 0.05% of voting powers. It holds 0.10% of the voting power in IDA. Singapore has a 0.01% interest in IFC, with 0.04% of voting powers. Finally, Singapore holds 0.15% of the shares and 0.23% of the voting power in MIGA.

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 12, 2016


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