The asiaone Singapore 2021 economic and social study paints a grim picture of Singapore's future if it fails to make significant changes in the direction it is taking. As the name infers, the economies of Singapore, its people and its place in the world are at stake. If Singapore wants to continue on its success path or fall into a recession of historic proportions, the following may help.
Singapore is a vibrant city-state located on the southwestern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The country is one of Southeast Asia's youngest civilizations, and is home to more than a half-million-strong population of Chinese, Indians, and Malaysia. The economies of these disparate groups are interdependent: The city-state's tremendous growth depends on its massive consumption of cheap labor from neighboring counties in its labor-intensive construction industry and the country's massive and reliable banking system. In this respect, the outlook for Singapore looks gloomy.
Although Singapore has no large trading partner to compete with in terms of sheer population, it does have neighbors to supply much-needed infrastructure and trade. These countries, however, are lagging far behind in the race for advanced technologies and they are struggling to attract and assimilate the brightest minds from other nations. The Singapore economy, by contrast, lags far behind China and India in both investment and infrastructure development, and these lagging percentages are not likely to change any time soon.
One of the reasons why growth is sluggish in Singapore is the state of the country's infrastructure. Between 1995 and 2021, the percentage of total annual construction spending on construction projects was less than ten percent. This is a troubling trend, given that even developing nations need reliable transportation, energy, and communications systems in order to thrive. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-corporation and Development (OECD) found that only the Philippines and Malaysia were able to sustain growth in their infrastructure investments during the period of the global downturn. Infrastructure deficits in developing countries, especially those that lack developed transportation means and sources of energy, fuel, and communications, will only serve to exacerbate the current economic challenges the world is facing.
Singapore's development needs cannot be overlooked, even though the city-state was hit by one of the worst recession in decades. The government launched an aggressive strategy to revitalize the economy through better government spending, more jobs and stronger growth. However, the effort has had limited success so far. In addition to the aforementioned problems of transport infrastructure, there is also a severe lack of basic amenities in the city-state. Hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other establishments still have not reached their potential, despite soaring property prices.
Tourism, the city's most significant revenue source, is also lagging behind in its growth rate. Despite the attractions of the Sentosa Island and the surrounding waters, the number of tourists visiting the island has not picked up, despite a reported increase in the number of luxury hotels. Tourism is still a relatively new industry in Singapore, despite the numerous attractions it offers. Whether or not it can overcome these obstacles, remains to be seen. With both financial issues and a dwindling economy looming large over the country, Singapore's potential as a tourism destination looks dim.