Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island country off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator, in the Southeast Asian region of the Asian continent. It is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north, and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. A city-state, Singapore is the world’s fourth leading financial centre and a cosmopolitan world city, playing a key role in international trade and finance.
Singapore has a diverse population of close to 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Caucasians, and Asians (of various descent). It has the sixth-highest percentage of foreigners in the world (42%), who make up 50% of the service sector. The country is the second most densely populated in the world after Monaco. A.T. Kearney names Singapore as the most globalised country in the world in its Globalization Index.
Even before independence in 1965, Singapore was one of the richest states in East Asia due to its strategic location as a port. Its GDP per capita in 1965 was $511, the third highest in East Asia after Japan and Hong Kong. After independence, foreign direct investment and a state-led drive for industrialization based on plans by former Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Goh Keng Swee created a modern economy focused on industry, education and urban planning.
Singapore is the fourth wealthiest country in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita, and the twentieth wealthiest in terms of GDP (nominal) per capita. Despite Singapore’s small size, it has the world’s ninth largest foreign reserves.
The Economist Intelligence Unit in its “Quality-Of-Life Index” ranks Singapore as having the best quality of life in Asia and eleventh overall in the world. Today, the port of Singapore continues to be among the top five busiest ports in the world. The Singapore Armed Forces are the most technologically advanced and well-equipped in the region.
Singapore is currently the fastest growing economy in the world, where economic growth for the first half of Year 2010 reached 17.9%.