Singapore No. 1 again in world ranking on government effectiveness

Singapore edged out Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Norway, which were ranked second to fifth, respectively. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE Singapore has topped a ranking that tracks the effectiveness of more than 100 governments around the world for the second consecutive year.

It edged out Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Norway – which ranked second to fifth, respectively – in the fourth edition of the Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) released on May 15. South Korea (20th) is the only other Asian country in the top 20.

What helped Singapore retain the top spot was ranking first in three of the seven pillars under assess­ment: leadership and foresight, which involves ethical and adaptable leaders with long-term vision; strong institutions, such as ministries, public departments and statutory agencies; and attractive marketplace, which includes creating jobs, innovation, and opportunities.

The Republic slipped to second in financial stewardship, which looks at how governments acquire, allocate and distribute public funds.

In the remaining pillars, Singapore ranked fourth in helping people rise, which looks at how governments help citizens achieve a better quality of life; ninth in robust policies and laws; and 26th in global influence and reputation.

It improved across most of the pillars compared with the 2023 edition. Then, Singapore had the top spot in leadership and foresight, strong institutions, financial stewardship, and attractive marketplace. It came second in helping people rise, 20th in robust policies and laws, and 36th in global influence and reputation.

The index is compiled by the Chandler Institute of Governance, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Singapore. Countries are scored by the institute on 35 indicators organised into the seven pillars.

The index taps more than 50 publicly available global data sources, including from the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, World Justice Project and Yale University.

The 113 countries evaluated represent about 90 per cent of the world’s population.

The 2024 report noted that while the first three editions of the index, from 2021 to 2023, delved into how governments used their capabilities to thrive during and after the Covid-19 crisis, this latest edition analysed geopolitical stability, socio-economic development, technological advancements and environmental changes.

“Good governance has become a more complex and precarious field than ever. At the same time, new opportunities and prospective ways of governing are emerging,” said the institute.

It added that the report examined how good governance relates to the challenges and opportunities countries are expected to face in coming years.

Editors of the report Alvin Pang and Victoria Giaever-Enger said: “In a year fraught with crisis and conflict, it can be challenging to focus on the long-term good. This is why in this year’s report, we focus on momentum and progress.”

The institute said in the report that a test of good government has always been the ability to manage current conditions while preparing a country for what is to come.

“Together these capabilities lay a foundation for national cohesion, prosperity, and pragmatic optimism. It is telling, for instance, that despite its technical accomplishments in governance, Singapore – which once again tops the CGGI overall in 2024 – has taken pains to renew its social compact with its people,” added the institute, referring to the Forward Singapore exercise.

“Good governments do not only fight today’s fires well: they (also) chart a viable course towards a better future and invite their country along with them.”

Singapore’s approach towards artificial intelligence (AI) was also singled out as it topped the rankings for governance capabilities that support an effective AI strategy, including long-term vision, regulatory governance and implementation indicators.

The institute called Singapore’s AI strategy comprehensive as its enablers involve technical infrastructure, a skilled workforce and creating an environment that safeguards users and fosters innovation.

It also noted that Singapore has taken steps to bring these enablers to life, including by providing AI grants to fund promising AI research and development; launching “Learn­AI”, which provides customised training courses for students, educators, and professionals and the public; and establishing a Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Division under the Government Technology Agency, which helps accelerate the technology across a range of government departments and agencies.

Singapore was among the first countries to unveil an AI plan in 2019. In December 2023, it launched an updated National AI Strategy 2.0, outlining ways to leverage AI to empower workers and businesses.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.