Harnessing Asia's collective expertise and collaborations between private players, governments and multilateral banks will enable the region to overcome development hurdles and meet its significant infrastructure needs.
This will be key to Asia's success, and Singapore is able to provide a platform for the development of Asia's infrastructure and help unlock the region's potential, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
In his keynote address at the fifth Singapore Regional Business Forum (SRBF) yesterday at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Mr Teo outlined three key areas in which the Republic can contribute to Asia's development.
First, Singapore can help to create an inclusive environment to facilitate infrastructure initiatives in the region, bringing together interested parties with the right expertise for project development, he said.
"Singapore is already a significant source of funds and expertise for infrastructure projects in the region," he said, adding that Singapore-based banks have provided loans or advisory services for an estimated 60 per cent of infrastructure projects in South-east Asia.
Second, Singapore's understanding of the region, and its strengths as a financial centre and legal hub, can help it provide new and innovative infrastructure solutions for Asia, said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.
He added that Singapore also has the expertise across its ecosystem to undertake feasibility studies and make infrastructure projects more bankable and investible, helping to "structure the financing for infrastructure projects across their entire life cycle".
Furthermore, Mr Teo said, Singapore's ability to provide a range of reliable, cost-effective and timely dispute resolution modalities gives international partners greater confidence and ease of mind when investing in Asia.
Third, he emphasised the need for infrastructure decisions to be "resource-efficient and resilient to the effects of climate change", especially given Asian countries' vulnerability to the effects of severe weather.
He pointed out that Singapore is among the 20 best countries, out of 142, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of gross domestic product.
"But we are still learning and improving, and working hard to reduce our overall carbon footprint," he said.
In addition, Singapore has been hosting the biennial World Cities Summit, providing a platform for city leaders, industry experts and academics to explore how urban planning innovations can make cities more liveable and sustainable, Mr Teo said.
A total of 128 cities participated in last year's summit.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank president Jin Liqun, in his keynote speech at the SRBF, spoke about the importance of sustainable development.
"Operations in infrastructure must improve and evolve," he said, adding that a greener approach needs to be adopted in building infrastructure, in order to provide opportunities for sustainable infrastructure investment.
Mr Jin also highlighted that Singapore has become a regional hub for infrastructure talent, expertise and innovation, with the resources and specialisations to conceptualise and execute projects efficiently and effectively.
More than 600 business leaders, diplomats and senior government officials from more than 50 countries were in attendance at this year's SRBF, which is the Singapore Business Federation's flagship event.
Four memoranda of understanding were signed at the one-day forum, strengthening third-party market collaborations in the region.