Singapore

Singapore, China face common challenges

6th Singapore-China Forum on Leadership ends today

Singapore and China are very different in size but they face common challenges, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

These include an ageing population, slowing workforce growth, better-educated younger generation with higher expectations for career and family, and the impact of technology on society and work.

In the search for solutions, government officials from both countries came together to share ideas and experiences at a two-day forum, which ends today.

Central to the discussion was how to develop leaders and policies for their countries to find innovative ways forward - the theme of the 6th Singapore-China Forum on Leadership.

The Singapore side is led by Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, and the Chinese side by Mr Zhao Leji, Communist Party of China (CPC) Politburo Member and Central Committee Organisation Department Minister.

In their keynote speeches, both spoke of the friendship between their countries and the importance of leadership development.

Mr Teo said: "The ability to have deep, wide-ranging and substantive discussions on such issues of national interest reflects the high degree of mutual trust between Singapore and China, as well as the depth, breadth and strength of our bilateral ties."

Similarly, Mr Zhao spoke of the long-standing friendship between both nations, which also share a consensus on the development of human resources.

"We are in a volatile time and the world is undergoing rapid changes, (and) neighbours wish each other well, just as loved ones do to each other," he said to about 100 people.

As co-chairs of the forum, both leaders outlined how their people are being developed for the future.

Mr Teo said Singapore's innovative ways include broadening the concept of meritocracy to help people learn throughout their life.

This is to prepare them for new jobs and industries as technological advances, like robots and artificial intelligence, disrupt routine jobs.

Singapore is also systematically deepening and broadening the experience of a younger generation of political leaders, he added.

"We will need leaders at all levels, in the political arena and public administration, in the private and people sectors. Leaders who have the moral courage and integrity to do what is right, and not just what is popular or populist."

Mr Zhao said the development of human resources is the foundation of innovation and, in turn, growth.

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