Singapore! That one city-state has left an indelible mark on my mind. I was there for an Executive Course and International Technical Visit organized by The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Abuja Branch June 15 to 24, 2019.
Singapore is a high-performance country, with so many high-rise buildings, superbly finished, immaculate environment where tap water is cleaner than bottled water. Recycling is at its best and attention to green is nothing less than passionate. With a population of 5.6 million(39% are foreign nationals) on 721.5 sq km space(23% of which is reclaimed), Singapore is ranked very high on many indicators:
- Most technology-ready nation (WEF)
- Top International-meetings city (UIA)
- City with “best investment potential” (BERI)
- World’s smartest city
- World’s safest country
- World’s most competitive economy
- Third least-corrupt country
- Third-largest foreign exchange market
- Third-largest financial centre
- Third-largest oil refining and trading centre
- Fifth-most innovative country
- Second-busiest container port
- Globally, the Port of Singapore has held the title of leading “Maritime Capital” for consecutive years
- Changi Airport has more than 480 “World’s Best Airport” awards as of 2015 and is known as the most-awarded airport in the world.
- Singapore Airlines is the 2018 “World’s Best Airline”. “Best international airline”, by US-based Travel + Leisure reader surveys, for 20 consecutive years. It is world’s most awarded airline.
- Singapore ranks 9th on the UN Human Development Index with the 3rd highest GDP per capita.
- It is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety and housing
- Singapore national university is ranked one of the best 20 in the world
- 90% of homes are owner-occupied.
- Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth
- It has one of the lowest unemployment rates among developed nations: fluctuating between 1 & 4%
The list goes on, and most of these have been achieved in a single generation. Singapore has no minimum wage. How did they perform this magic?
Spearheaded by the first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, they developed three pillars: Meritocracy, Pragmatism and Honesty, and built everything else around them. How I wish my country could emulate this tiny country that is hardly visible on a map.