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Opening Address by Indranee Rajah, Minister in The Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance & Education, at the Growing Infrastructure Programme Virtual Signing Ceremony, 1 June 2020

01 Jun 2020
1. Let me extend a warm welcome to everybody. 

a. It is a great pleasure to witness today’s virtual signing ceremony for the Growing Infrastructure Programme with Infrastructure Asia, Singapore Management University (SMU), and the World Bank Group. 

Signaling business continuity despite COVID-19

2. Notwithstanding COVID-19, this programme has made strong progress. We have found new ways to progress forward.

a. Today’s virtual ceremony and the progress that it marks are strong signals that business can and will go on, and it shows how digital tools can help us to achieve that. 

Infrastructure remains a bright spot, amid economic uncertainties due to COVID-19

3. Infrastructure remains a bright spot that can increase business activity and employment. 

a. Growing economies need reliable infrastructure to carry out essential functions even when assailed by external challenges, or perhaps even more so when assailed by external challenges.

b. Infrastructure can reinvigorate business activity and employment as we seek to reopen our economies gradually.

4. Sustainable infrastructure will shape our future.  

a. Already, we have seen many countries in the region develop innovative infrastructure projects to address both immediate needs and future trends.   

b. It is important that the region uses this time to continue to push forward on sustainability. 

c. I am therefore heartened to know that the first run of the programme will focus on clean energy, a sector that has proved resilient amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. As international financial sources remain available and very keen to support clean energy projects, international private sector can hence continue to contribute to this area of infrastructure development.

Benefits of the programme to Singapore and the region 

5. The Growing Infrastructure programme aims to support the regional infrastructure scene. 

a. It increases awareness of Singapore’s offerings through site visits and case studies of our signature infrastructure projects.

b. It also allows the region to build familiarity with Singapore’s infrastructure ecosystem and the solutions across the infrastructure value chain.

6. The programme also provides a platform for cross-sharing of capabilities and experiences in the region.

a. It facilitates training for senior and mid-level regional government officials involved in project preparation to better deliver infrastructure projects.

b. This helps to grow the regional expertise in infrastructure and build stronger relationships between countries.  

Combining the strengths of Infrastructure Asia, SMU and the World Bank Group

7. The curation of this programme combines the strengths of each partner to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to create a regulatory environment that is friendly towards private sector involvement and at the same time supports public private partnerships or PPP in infrastructure.

a. Infrastructure Asia brings its strong networks to Singapore and regional infrastructure ecosystems, SMU brings in its industry collaborative networks, while the World Bank Group brings in its global development expertise.

Closing remarks

8. The collaboration between Infrastructure Asia, SMU, and World Bank Group will build capabilities at a time when it is most needed.

a. With the diversity in expertise and strong synergies among the three parties, I am confident the programme will be vibrant and successful and attract strong interest from regional participants.

b. Thank you all very much.

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