Lessons in economic development from Singapore: QNB Group

June 28, 2014 - 6:59:02 pm

DOHA: Singapore is a remarkable growth story. Back in the 1960s, it was one of the poorest countries in Asia. Since then, it has transformed itself into one of the most of the advanced economies, with the third highest per capita GDP in the world after Qatar and Luxembourg. Singapore went through several stages in this astonishing development.

It had initially started with basic industrialization, then moved to more sophisticated industries before developing as a regional hub for trade and financial services. Its latest phase of development is establishing a knowledge-based economy. Singapore's remarkable development provides useful lessons for GCC countries, which seek to diversify their economies away from oil into a more sustainable model of growth and development, QNB said in a report published today.

In 1960, Singapore was a British colony whose economy mainly served as a regional trading post. British military bases accounted for nearly a fifth of nominal GDP and at least 75 percent population had no primary education. Since then, the economy had developed at a remarkable speed. Between 1966 and 2013, real GDP per capita grew fifteen fold, three times as fast as its growth in the US.

The dramatic transformation took place in different phases, almost following an economic textbook. An economy grows either because of increase in inputs (labor, capital or natural resources) or because those inputs become more productive. In the case of Singapore, most of the initial growth came from an rapid increase in labor and capital. More recently, however, most of the Singapore growth story has come from more productivity gains as the economy has become more knowledge-based.(QNA)

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