Since gaining independence in 1965, Singapore has experienced rapid economic development. The country's strong economic performance reflects the success of its open and outward-oriented development strategy.
Singapore was tiny and underdeveloped when it gained independence in 1965. Seventy percent of the country's households lived in badly overcrowded conditions. Unemployment was 14 percent, and half of the population was illiterate. Per capita GDP was just US$516.
Then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's government welcomed foreign trade and investment. It also invested heavily in ship-building and oil refining, laying a solid foundation for the country's logistics and strategic role in the Malacca Straits.
From 1965 to 1999, GDP grew by an average of 8 percent. When Lee Kuan Yew resigned in 1999, per capita GDP was US$13,000, 25 times higher than when he took office.
From 2008 to 2011, Singapore had the highest trade to GDP ratio in the world, averaging around 400 percent.
In 2004, the current prime minister—Lee Kuan Yew's son, Lee Hsien Loong—was sworn in. He took some measures to help boost the country's economy. In 2005, a bill paved the way for casino gambling.
After 50 years of development, Singapore is now one of the richest countries on earth, with a per capita GDP of more than US$55,000 US dollars in 2013.
Mercer's 2015 Quality of Living survey ranked Singapore as the 26th best city in the world, and the highest of any Asian city, based on 39 factors, including culture, environment, political stability, safety, infrastructure, and the ease of doing business.
Economic growth has now slowed, with 2 to 4 percent expansion forecast this year. It still has more to explore to keep its momentum to grow.
- Editor:Annabelle | Source: Agencies
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