SINGAPORE (Jan 14): This year marks 200 years since Stamford Raffles landed on an island located between Peninsula Malaysia and Java. Raffles established the free and open port of Singapore by treaty, and since then the island state has flourished into one of the richest economies in the world.

Yet, even as its wealth and success grows, the country’s leaders are faced with pressing challenges that cannot necessarily be solved by money alone. Take, for example, the free and open port, which has developed into a global centre for trade and financial services. While it has thrived for the better part of the last two centuries, its raison d’etre is now its vulnerability. Changes and interruptions in global economic activity, whether as a result of the standoff between the US and China or an overall slowdown, have an impact on its growth.

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