Setting the Foundations and Looking towards the Future: The Case of Singapore

Long-term developments such as population growth, urbanization and industrialization in emerging markets as well as the impending threat of climate change, have resulted in increasing impacts on natural resources globally. The increasingly globalized and interconnected world as well as the growing consumption of goods and services has resulted into societies becoming less resilient with respect to the availability of natural resources on which their own development relies. A new paradigm for global resource availability is necessary at global scale.

A resource-constrained country that has traditionally prided itself on planning ahead of future events that may have an impact on its economic growth and on the well-being of its population is Singapore. The search for more and better development alternatives has made the country follow a ‘think ahead, think again and think across’ philosophy. This approach has rendered very positive results throughout the history of the city-state in the overall sectors.

Singapore is one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, globally recognized for creating opportunities and seizing risks if these have the potential to bring benefits. With a population of 5.4 million in 2014, a GDP of US$295.7 billion, GDP per capita US$63,050, its global competitive index is the second in the world only after Switzerland.

By Cecilia Tortajada and Vinna Yip, Chapter of the book: Insight into Asian Water, edited by K-water, 2015, pages 26-41.

Chapter online