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Plan, Develop, Deliver and Manage - keys to successful cities

Friday, 22nd November 2019
Hon Amongi gives a Ugandan tourism artefact to Minister of National Development Singapore
The Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Dr Vivien Balakrishnan, has reiterated the commitment of his country to sharing development experiences with Uganda as its contribution to Ugandan efforts towards socioeconomic transformation. Vivien Balakrishnan said that the transformation of Singapore from a Third World country to a First World economy within a generation, is due to the country's twin focus on critical growth areas and the development of its human resource. The Minister made this remarks on 13th November, 2019 while receiving a Uganda delegation to Singapore led by the Hon Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Betty Amongi.

Referring to the particular focus area for the Uganda delegation visit, that is, the development of the country-s seven municipalities into city status from July, 2020, Balkrishnan said that the socioeconomic transformation had been attained by two twin approaches. Singapore he said, had followed socialist policies in relation to the welfare of its citizens. At the same time, and for the same reason, his country had  followed capitalist paths to economic development. This dual focus is what enabled the country to jump from the Third World socioeconomic grouping of countries to the First World within one generation. This combination of socialist and capitalist approaches to social and economic development as a strategy for socioeconomic transformation was echoed by many of the offices and organizations which the Ugandan delegation met.

Amongi led a team of five Ugandan officials on a bench-marking tour to the world acclaimed success in city planning, development and management that is the backbone of Singaporean socioeconomic transformation. During her trip the Minister met with the Singapore Minister for National Development, the Hon Lawrence Wong who is also the Second Minister of Finance. He explained that Singapore being a small country, had committed herself to being a City State run on the basis of the City in the Garden and the Garden in the City. The whole country was therefore subjected to a national Master Plan informed by this longer term vision. This plan was and continues to inform policy options affecting the development of the city and its towns. In later discussions with government agencies of Surbana Judong and Singapore Corporations Enterprise, it became clear to the Ugandan delegation that the Master Plan involved both social and economic strategies which needed to be implemented simultaneously in order to realise socioeconomic transformation. Among some of the crucial social strategies was human capacity development which included a commitment to putting a roof over the heads of all Singaporeans; as well as  educating and skilling them. The housing ethos has seen to the construction and housing of 80 per cent of the population, a reality of present-day Singapore.   

On the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Singapore Corporation Enterprise of the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore and the Office of the Prime Minister, consultations will continue on collaboration between the two friendly countries. The number one area of collaboration in this MOU is the development of cities in Uganda, the very reason the delegation had travelled to Singapore. While receiving Amongi in his office, the Singapore Minister of Trade and Industry encouraged the development of a road map so that such cooperation is given timelines in order to develop concrete programmes of cooperation whose fruits would be enjoyed by the people of the two friendly countries.

The Ugandan delegation to Singapore led by the Hon Amongi consisted of the Commissioner of Urban Planning, Mr Walter Pade, the Policy Analyst Mr Henry Irumba, as well as the Personal Assistant to the Minister Mr Julius Zari. The High Commissioner of Uganda to Singapore resident in New Delhi, Ms Grace Akello and the Secretary in Charge of Commercial Diplomacy at the High Commission, Ms Sophie Birungi formed part of the delegation. The High  Commission worked closely with the Minister and her team as well as with Government officials of Singapore to realise this visit.