Innovation may be the buzzword today but for Singapore's economic planning agencies, our journey in fact began two decades ago.
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) was established in 1961 to spearhead the industrialisation of Singapore. The aim was to diversify the economy from our roots as a British trading port. This task took on greater urgency with the withdrawal of British troops in the early 1970s and the ensuing loss of jobs.
Given our small market, we could not rely on import substitution to promote manufacturing. Instead, we chose the less conventional route at that time, of attracting investments from multinational corporations (MNCs). As a result of that decision, we were able to ride the rising tide of globalisation.
Over the past five decades, Singapore has steadily moved up the value chain and developed the capabilities to partner companies in skills-intensive and technology-intensive industries.
Today, we are the fourth-largest exporter of high-tech products as defined by the World Bank, behind only China, Germany and the United States.