Originally a British trading colony, Singapore joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but then separated two years later to become an independent state. The nation has quickly become one of the world’s most prosperous countries, supported by its geographically advantageous location. Singapore has one of the world’s busiest ports, allowing the country to establish a broad network of international trading links. Singapore’s government is widely regarded as corruption-free and that, combined with its skilled work force and advanced infrastructure, have attracted investment from foreign firms to almost all sectors of the economy. Singapore currently has a per capita GDP that matches that of the leading nations in Western Europe.
In contrast to its current economic success, upon independence Singapore was faced with the challenge of a lack of physical resources, together with a small domestic market. The Singapore government adopted a pro-business, pro-foreign investment and export-oriented economic policy and focused investments on government-owned corporations. This strategy was a success and produced growth that averaged 8 percent annually between 1960 and 1999. The global financial crisis has negatively affected Singapore’s trade-oriented economy resulting in a notable decline in growth starting in 2008.
Singapore is a member of the United Nations and has participated in its peacekeeping and overseeing missions in Kuwait, Angola, Namibia, Cambodia and Timor-Leste. It also plays an active role in ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The government is focused on providing at least ten years of education for every child in the country. It has also made English the primary language used at all levels of the school system.