Singapore celebrates its 49th National Day on Aug. 9. The Singapore economy is holding up well amid global uncertainties. Singapore posted a 3.9 per cent real GDP growth in 2013, and is expected to grow by 2-4 per cent in 2014. Singapore also enjoys a low unemployment rate of around 2 per cent. As a small nation lacking in natural resources, we have made remarkable progress since our independence in 1965. Singapore's consistent economic performance has been made possible by the continued focus on the fundamentals of our society and economy. Singapore today is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, and has become one of the top choices in Asia to live, work and study.
In spite of uncertainties in the global economy over the past few years, Singapore has maintained our competitiveness by keeping our economy open for business, trade and investments. In addition, the Singapore government is committed to ensuring clean and effective governance, which has allowed for long-term policies beneficial for the people and the economy. In 2014, Singapore was ranked the easiest place to do business in the world by the World Bank. It was also named the top international city for meetings in a global ranking of 1,465 cities by the Union of International Associations for the seventh year running. Singapore is also ranked as the top city for investment potential, being Asia's least bureaucratic place to do business, being the most transparent country in Asia and being among the world's top three countries with the least corruption in the economy. Singapore today is home to the regional offices of many world-leading multinational corporations, including a number of top Korean companies. Moving forward, Singapore is growing to become one of the world's leading financial centers while simultaneously boosting the productivity of local industries.
Singapore continues to place strong emphasis on investing in our people, particularly in our future generations. Singapore today boasts some of the top tertiary institutions in Asia. The National University of Singapore, for instance, was ranked No. 2 in Asia by Times Higher Education Asia for 2014. Over the years, Singapore has also been able to attract top international educational institutions, such as INSEAD, MIT, Duke University and Yale University to name a few, to set up campuses or partner with our local institutions and contribute to our position as a thriving educational hub. Our emphasis on education also extends beyond our schools and into the workplace ― where government and employers work hand-in-hand to continually upgrade the skills of our labour force through various training programs. Singapore's focus on quality lifelong education, coupled with our long-standing bilingual education policy, has allowed our people to stay relevant and thrive in an increasingly competitive global workplace.
Central to our identity as a nation is the rich multicultural heritage of the Singaporean society, and our openness to global influences. This is reflected in the growing arts and cultural scene in Singapore, which has grown in both vibrancy and scale over the last decade. Not only has Singapore played host to numerous international performers and exhibitions over the past year, our homegrown artists are also gaining prominence internationally. Singaporean feature film "Ilo Ilo" won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year, while Singaporean artists have participated widely at international arts and film festivals all over the world, including festivals in Korea. In addition, Singapore's diverse heritage can be seen in the wide variety of foods found in Singapore ― from traditional Peranakan dishes unique to Southeast Asia, to international cuisine prepared by world-renowned chefs. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage our Korean friends to visit Singapore and to enjoy our vibrant arts and cultural scene, while at the same time sample the wide range of cuisines that Singapore has to offer.