The Brenthurst Foundation
Strengthening Africa's
economic performance

Up the Creek with a Paddle: Building Modern Singapore

Greg Mills

Director, The Brenthurst Foundation

Book / Publication · Published 17 February 2016


This Discussion Paper examines Singapore's rise from a fragile, poor backwater in southeast Asia in the 1960s to iconic global economic star, which today boasts a GDP per capita ten per cent higher than its former colonial master, the UK.

The Paper, drawing on a series of interviews in Singapore in early 2016, outlines the stark challenges the newly-independent city-state, under the leadership of Lee Kuan Yew, overcame during its remarkable transformation. It demonstrates how his administration’s commitment to commercial principles underpinned nearly all facets of Singapore’s hugely successful development story.

About the Author

Dr Greg Mills directs The Brenthurst Foundation. An adviser to several African presidents and to COMISAF in Afghanistan, he is the author of, among others, the best-selling books, Why Africa is Poor and, most recently, with Jeffrey Herbst, How South Africa Works.

A research contribution to The Future of African Cities project



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