Message for ONE Africa issue 2024: Africa-Singapore: Bold and Bountiful Measures For Mutual Prosperity

IT is with growing satisfaction that I look back on the building blocks that have shaped Africa-Singapore relations and how inspirational this will be in brightening our prospects as mindful allies.

This heartening outlook of our decades-long ties has been further underpinned by two important events that took place in the last two years. The first of these was the Africa-Singapore Business Forum and the other was Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit in the past year to Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya. Interfaces of this nature will always provide fresh insights into how we can open up new avenues of dialogue, cooperation, collaboration, and people-to-people connectivity.

The success of the seventh edition of the Africa-Singapore Business Forum reflects the importance of this platform as a means to provide businesses in Africa, Singapore, and Southeast Asia new opportunities to connect with potential partners to attract investment and grow their businesses exponentially. Notably, the five agreements designed to boost business ties Singapore signed with Kenya and South Africa signal the willingness of signatories to scale their ties to greater heights.

While bilateral trade in goods between Africa and Singapore hit $19.4 billion in 2022, the latter is in the process of negotiating new pacts to improve connectivity with African nations – both on a bilateral basis and with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – and the trade value poised to grow even bigger going forward.

Around the mid-way of 2023, Prime Minister Lee made his maiden visit to South Africa and followed up the South Africa leg of his tour with his first official visit to Kenya, where in Nairobi he met with Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto. The discussions of the two leaders touched upon matters of bilateral cooperation which also included climate change, information and communications technology (ICT), and human resource development.

Equally, the announcement of the Singapore-Africa Partnership Package by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his official visit to Rwanda in June 2022 reaffirmed Singapore’s unwavering commitment to strengthening strategic ties and sharing its expertise in economic development, human resource development and capacity building with the African continent.

What is very interesting is that quite recently Nanyang Technological University-Singapore Business Federation (NTU-SBF) launched “Back to Growth: Priority Agenda for the Economic Revival of Nigeria,” a 150-page report on Nigeria. This is the first time that a Singapore-based think tank has delivered a policy recommendation report for an African state. It was authored by Amit Jain, director of NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies.

The growing interest in Singapore serving as a critical bridge for deepening connectivity between the regions continues to add fresh impetus to the efforts of the leaders of these nations to fuel better mutual understanding and boost trade and investment between Africa-Singapore and Africa-Asia. I look forward to an even greater momentum in the coming years for the fructification of many new initiatives we are together now putting in place for future generations of our nations.

Some IN Diplomacy Interview highlights from ONE Africa 2024:

  • + H.E. Charlotte Lobe: Bold in Spritit and Leadership click here
  • + Keeping Up with Africa by Johan Burger click here
  • + Ntsimbintle Holdings: Manganese – Afrcia’s Economic Catalyst click here