The World Bank Group is looking expand its Singapore office to create its first Infrastructure and Urban Development Hub in Asia as a response to the region's growing economic heft.
According to a joint statement by the World Bank and the Singapore government, the expanded hub operation will focus on the funding of sustainable infrastructure and urban development to foster economic growth.
“As the centre of global economic activity gravitates increasingly to East Asia, Singapore's role will further grow. This provides huge opportunities for emerging and developing economies,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank's vice president for East Asia and the Pacific region.
It will employ more than 200 people from the orgainsation as well as from its two private sector arms – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – over the next two years.
The hub will also be expanding investment and advisory programmes and instruments offered by the IFC and MIGA.
“The World Bank will leverage Singapore's position in global capital markets by establishing its Asia Treasury Hub, expanding the number of funds managed out of Singapore by IFC's Asset Management Company, growing IFC's Investment and advisory teams to expand infrastructure investments and include the venture capital and technology teams as well as other sectors,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC's vice president and treasurer.
The World Bank pointed out that Singapore's ability to transform infrastructure investments into productive assets for economic growth and increased prosperity, as well as its capacity to undertake sustainable urban planning, has set an example to many developing economies.
“The next phase of the hub will foster greater integration of the World Bank's functions with Singapore's strengths and developmental experience,” said Indranee Rajah, Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law.
“The World Bank can collaborate with Singapore's business and research ecosystem to enhance its range of solutions for developing countries in the region and beyond.”