‘Future-ready’ partnership with Germany is vital: President Halimah, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

‘Future-ready’ partnership with Germany is vital: President Halimah

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A stronger Singapore-Germany partnership is important in the current climate of global economic uncertainty, said President Halimah Yacob yesterday.

And this partnership must be able to navigate such major upheavals as the US-China trade tensions, disruptive technologies and the pushback against globalisation in some countries because of the unequal outcomes it creates, she noted in a speech to business leaders of both countries at the start of her five-day state visit to Germany.

"The challenge is thus to develop a 'future-ready' and 'people-centric' partnership," she added.

This partnership must, among other things, be based on trust, she said, and added: "Germany has proven to be a trusted partner in Singapore's nation-building journey."

The President was speaking at a ceremony for the signing of nine memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to help deepen collaboration across sectors, including education and technology. The event was held at the House of German Economy in Berlin.

She and her husband, Mr Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee, arrived in Berlin yesterday. It is the first state visit to Germany by a president of Singapore.

Delegations from the Singapore Business Federation and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) are visiting Germany in conjunction with the state visit, with each agency signing an MOU with its German counterpart.

ESG's pact with technology industry organisation Munich Network will give Singapore companies and start-ups direct access to German companies and a better understanding of their needs. Members of Munich Network include Airbus, Bosch and Siemens.

Madam Halimah said such initiatives will further ease the flow of goods and services, capital, entrepreneurship, ideas and data between the two countries.

"But that is not enough. We need to also focus on our peoples," she said. "(That) means an emphasis on helping our respective workforce adopt and adapt to Industry 4.0 practices."

Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data, and one of its core technologies is artificial intelligence.

In all, 14 MOUs and agreements will be inked to promote co-innovation, internships and vocational exchanges, the President noted.