S'pore and London 'can learn from each other'

S'pore and London 'can learn from each other'
At the state banquet for President Tony Tan Keng Yam are (from left) the Duchess of Gloucester, the Lord Mayor's Consort Nicholas Woolf, Lord Mayor of the City of London Fiona Woolf, Mrs Mary Tan and the Duke of Gloucester.

SINGAPORE - Singapore and London are a tale of two cities that can learn from each other about how to attract talent and be a regional financial hub, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said at a banquet held in his honour.

Highlighting the shared history, similarities and robust ties between the two global cities, he urged both to continue to deepen their partnership and links with each other.

He was addressing hundreds of guests on Wednesday, including the Lord Mayor of the City of London Fiona Woolf, who was his host, and the City's senior officials.

Both Singapore and London are vibrant and diverse cities which welcome professionals from around the world, said Dr Tan, who is on a state visit to Britain.

They are also financial gateways to their respective regions of Asia and Europe.

Global cities, however, must be sustainable and liveable to attract the best and the brightest, and Singapore and London have done well in this regard, he added.

Dr Tan noted that London was recently named the most desired city in the world to work in.

Singapore was No. 9 although it held the top spot in Asia.

However, more needs to be done, he said.

"I believe London and Singapore can learn from each other on this front, especially with regard to tackling similar challenges such as social integration and housing affordability."

Agreeing, Ms Woolf said a diverse tapestry of talent - such as what multicultural London and Singapore have - is "the greatest strength of any one city".

"We need the breadth and depth that diversity brings, in order to innovate and compete, in order to turn great challenges, population growth, infrastructure demands, climate change into great opportunities," she said.

That multicultural edge was reflected earlier in the day when Dr Tan attended a cosy Deepavali gathering of the Singapore UK Association.In his speech, the President said that in the field of finance, Singapore and London are natural bases for regional headquarters of companies looking to do business in Asia and Europe.

Both could learn from each other's experiences, he added, citing the internationalisation of China's yuan and the implementation of regulatory reforms after the global financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Dr Tan was awarded an honorary knighthood - the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath - which he wore to the state banquet given by Queen Elizabeth II. It is the third-highest British honour and its recipients include former United States president Dwight Eisenhower and former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Yesterday, the official segment of the President's state visit ended with a formal farewell from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.

Dr Tan visited Bristol in the afternoon. He was hosted to lunch in the Bristol Museum by the city's mayor, Mr George Ferguson.

charyong@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on October 24, 2014.
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