Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » World Bank to put up infrastructure development hub in Singapore

Singapore_Singapore-Flyer-Ferris-wheelThe World Bank Group has signed an agreement with Singapore to expand the financial institution’s office in Singapore and establish its first global infrastructure and urban development hub.

The expanded hub will provide global infrastructure and urban development funding services to help fill the finance gap in emerging and developing economies, said a joint statement by Singapore and World Bank recently.

Its public sector side will have sectoral teams working on energy & extractives, water, transport, information & communications technology, public-private partnerships, trade & competitiveness, and urban development as well as the global infrastructure facility.

The private sector side will focus on complementary expanded investment and advisory programs and instruments.

“This agreement with Singapore to create the World Bank Group’s first global Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub is built on our mutual belief that sustainable infrastructure and urban development are critical to fostering economic growth, improving the quality of life of the poor and building opportunities for more equitable prosperity,” said Kyle Peters, World Bank senior vice president for operations.

Singapore was a borrower of the World Bank for infrastructure investment and was able to transform itself into an international financial center and trading hub, and this is a major reason why the World Bank Group chose Singapore for the hub, said the statement.

“Fifty years ago, Singapore was a new nation, hungry to develop its infrastructure, create jobs and set itself on the path to rapid, sustained growth. Today, the city state of over 5.5 million people is a global center of trade and finance, and serves as an example to countries and urban centers around the developing world,” said the bank.

Between 1963 and 1975, Singapore received 14 loans from the World Bank. The initial loans included the financing of a deep-sea terminal at the Port of Singapore, doubling of the country’s energy capacity and the construction of the water interconnector with Malaysia.

Later loans covered environmental and flood management, telecommunications systems, the capitalization of the Development Bank of Singapore and the consolidation of college campuses into the National University of Singapore.

“As the center of global economic activity gravitates increasingly to East Asia, Singapore’s role will further grow. This provides huge opportunities for emerging and developing economies,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific region.

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah said that the next phase of the Singapore hub will further integrate the World Bank’s functions with Singapore’s strengths and developmental experience. “The World Bank Group can collaborate with Singapore’s business and research ecosystem to enhance its range of solutions for developing countries in the region and beyond.”

The joint statement said mobilizing private sector investment in high-quality, sustainable infrastructure is crucial to ensuring access to markets and basic services that will boost trade and productivity, provide jobs, and improve people’s lives in developing and emerging economies.

Photo: SiCEphoto, Uwe Aranas

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