Immediate action will help cement its hard-won place as Southeast Asia’s business and investment hub and as a truly global city.
Singapore serves as a role model for many cities—boasting a high quality of life, a highly diverse culture, and a well-educated and hyper-connected populace. Its stability on the social and political fronts is attractive to investors and the business community. Singapore is the highest-ranked country according to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Connectedness Index, which measures the cross-border flows of goods, services, finance, people, and data.
Still, Singapore was not immune to challenging global forces, such as the 2008 global financial process and the slowdown in China’s economy. Quarterly growth has not exceeded 3% for the past seven quarters and the long-term economic outlook remains bleak.
This article highlights the 3 key opportunities for Singapore to accelerate growth:
- Tap the demand of its fellow ASEAN members. The creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has set the stage for Singapore to serve what is becoming an open market of some 600 million consumers. Integration should accelerate the flow of trade and encourage Singaporean businesses to enter new markets.
- Move towards an idea-intensive economy. Singapore has much of the digital infrastructure and if it can disseminate digital technologies more broadly, it can bring lagging sectors up to speed.
- Expand participation in the workforce and extend the benefits of economic growth. One initiative that is under way now is the SkillsFuture program that helps citizens acquire job skills suited to a changing job market. Further efforts along similar lines should enable Singapore to generate prosperity broadly across the population.
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