It has been an eventful and trying year for Singaporeans. The Covid-19 pandemic inflicted a shocking shutdown of the economy for several weeks which no one had expected. Even now, as hopes rise for an end to the pandemic, Singapore has to ask itself whether longstanding strategies, such as relying heavily on tourism and aviation as engines of growth, can be sustained. As a result, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has signalled that the political succession may be delayed so that his generation of leaders have time to repair the damage and hand over a better-positioned Singapore to the next generation of leaders.

Scarred by the crisis, many of us may have grown wary about the future. However, our view is that 2021 will bring about a dramatic reversal of fortunes. We see the global economy and our regional hinterland resurging — economic growth may well surprise positively in 2021. That is good news in itself, but it also puts Singapore in a better position to address the structural challenges that it faces — as the pandemic fades away, Singapore has to take some hard decisions to prepare itself for the future.

Global environment: More ups than downs

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