'Smart nation' vision about people and mindsets: Vivian

Singapore's "smart nation" vision must be about "people and mindsets" and technological solutions need to be citizen-centric to enhance the quality of life of Singaporeans, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has said.

At the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday, Dr Balakrishnan shared with leaders around the world Singapore's plans to harness developments in infocommunications technology to build a smart nation.

Dr Balakrishnan, who is the minister in charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, outlined Singapore's aims and plans on his Facebook page.

"Singapore will aim to have the best digital infrastructure in the world," he wrote, adding that "we will also ensure our people are ready through SkillsFuture and teach computational thinking in schools".

He also stressed the need for a "vibrant ecosystem with "smart money" so that start-ups can be nurtured and scale up in a competitive world from day one".

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched the Smart Nation Initiative last November to strengthen Singapore's move towards using the latest technology in a cohesive, nationwide fashion. The Government has emphasised that it will involve the collaboration of people and businesses with the public sector to create and utilise innovative solutions.

Dr Balakrishnan was on his first official visit to Spain. On Sunday, he unveiled a bust of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March, in Cap Roig Gardens in Barcelona. It is the first bust of Mr Lee outside of Singapore.

He also met Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo in Madrid on Wednesday. They reaffirmed the good bilateral relations between Singapore and Spain and agreed to continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including in the economic sector.

Dr Balakrishnan left Spain on Wednesday for Malaysia to attend the Asean Summit and related summits, which end on Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline ''Smart nation' vision about people and mindsets: Vivian'. Print Edition | Subscribe