The World Bank Group and the National University of Singapore (NUS) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will broaden collaboration in areas of shared expertise, in order to advance policy research that address global development challenges such as sustainable urban development and infrastructure finance.

The signing ceremony was held in conjunction with the Asia Competitiveness Institute - World Bank ASEAN Forum, which was hosted at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School). Signatories for the MOU between the World Bank Group and NUS were Mr Jordan Z Schwartz, Director of the World Bank's Singapore Hub for Infrastructure and Urban Development, and Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost. The signing was witnessed by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Singapore Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Senior Minister of State for Defence.

"Singapore can share with the World Bank Group's member countries the lessons we have learned in creating a more efficient and livable city, in encouraging businesses to be more competitive and thrive, in providing quality health-care. NUS has strong knowledge and deep expertise in addressing critical issues that are relevant to Asia. We hope that our enhanced collaboration with the World Bank Group will further deepen our core strengths and at the same time enable NUS researchers to contribute towards the continued growth and development of Singapore as well as countries in Asia and beyond," said Professor Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, National University of Singapore.

The areas being considered for collaboration relate to key issues of sustainable economic development. In particular, they highlight the lessons learned by Singapore during its transformation from a low income country in the early 1960s to a leading manufacturing and services centre and among the world's most competitive economies.

For example, a proposed collaboration with the Centre for Livable Cities at the Ministry for National Development and the NUS School of Design and Environment's Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities will build on Singapore's expertise in fostering innovative urban growth and support of the development of smart cities in the East Asia and Pacific region.

The World Bank Group and Singapore have a long history of collaboration in promoting higher education, dating back to 1972 when the World Bank supported the development of a consolidated campus for NUS.

"In several critical areas of sustainable development - from integrated urban planning to innovative financing of infrastructure, from delivery of high-quality services to policies and technologies that increase competitiveness and connectivity - Singapore leads by example. Our collaboration with NUS is a reflection of both Singapore's academic excellence and extraordinary practical experience, and our efforts to provide development solutions for the World Bank Group's client countries," said Jordan Schwartz, Director of the World Bank Group's Singapore Hub for Infrastructure and Urban Development.

With the Institute of Water Policy at LKY School and the Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme, World Bank Group experts will work on strengthening the capacity of governments in Asia in undertaking climate proofing, integrated water management in cities, and water security.

In the realm of exploring scientific and technological solutions for health-care challenges, the World Bank will reach out to the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Duke-NUS Medical School of NUS, and Biomedical Institute for Global Health Research and Technology (BIGHEART).

"This MOU will foster meaningful synergies between Singapore's research strengths and the World Bank Group's development functions, and also incorporate companies' feedback to augment the World Bank Group's suite of infrastructure solutions for developing countries. The World Bank Group's collaboration with a leading Singapore institution paves the way for impactful public-private partnerships to be driven from Singapore, to support the development of emerging markets in the region," said Lee Eng Keat, Director, International Organisations Programme Office, Logistics, and Natural Resources, at the Economic Development Board.

Other collaborations being proposed include support for learning opportunities through NUS' global education initiatives and joint research projects in the area of data analytics.

The expanding collaboration builds on the successful collaboration between the World Bank and the Asia Competitiveness Institute of the LKY School, which began in August 2015.

A Steering Committee - comprising of representatives from both institutions as well as local experts and stakeholders - will be established to provide overall guidance and supervision on the respective joint work programs.

Private sector companies and State-Owned Enterprises such as PSA International Pte Ltd, Changi Airport Group, SPRING Singapore, International Enterprise Singapore and Surbana Jurong Private Limited may serve as advisors in the projects. Moving forward, the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, may also explore potential collaboration with NUS.

Source: World Bank