Economic Diversification (2007)

Two CSPS studies, in collaboration with Mark Crosby from Melbourne Business School and Manu Bhaskaran from The Centennial Group were the first to highlight that the main reasons why Brunei Darussalam has been unable to diversify its economy is due to the enabling environment. Among the associated weaknesses are bureaucratic hindrances and weak human capital development.

The government has since stepped up efforts in improving the enabling environment, led by the Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee involving 13 Champion groups from various departments and agencies. Brunei Darussalam’s ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Report 2017 jumped significantly from 97 to 72, named as the most improved country in the world.

This study has been published as a CSPS Report in 2007.

National Productivity (2012)

CSPS was requested by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2011 to conduct research in the field of productivity measurement and growth. The overall aim is to propose for a comprehensive measurement of productivity, review of issues and challenges facing Brunei Darussalam and to formulate a National Productivity Roadmap to support Wawasan 2035 goals, paying special attention to the role of innovation, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE), and the possibility of setting up a new National Productivity Authority. The project is long-term and continuous in nature.

In 2013, CSPS formulated a proposal for a National Productivity Roadmap, including a list of priority action areas and recommendations (among other, the establishment of a National Productivity Council). Published as a CSPS working paper, this study  includes the measurement of labour productivity at the national level and has received positive feedback from public and private agencies at two national forums in 2012.

Following this seminal study, CSPS conducted two company level productivity studies involving, respectively, 5 and 10 companies. These studies led to the development of a Productivity Measurement Framework and Diagnostic Tools and the organisation of productivity training for government agencies and private companies.

Land Optimisation Study for Commercial and Industrial Use (2012)

This study was funded by Brunei Research Council and in collaboration with the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Development. It provided high-level strategies to optimize industrial and commercial land use to drive economic diversification using the guiding principles of balanced and sustainable development in Brunei Darussalam.

This is the first and only nationwide quantification of the availability of Greenfield land and its possible optimisation. The key findings are:

  1. There is adequate green land for economic development while preserving the Heart of Borneo (813 sq km). Based on growth objectives of 6% per annum GDP growth, it is projected by the study that Brunei Darussalam only requires 70 sq km by 2035.
  2. There is high potential of a new economic cluster on Creative Industries: This is in line with Brunei Darussalam’s aim to drive economic growth through innovation and a knowledge-driven society. The study recommends the development of a Brunei Creative and Knowledge Based Industry Precinct (B-KIP) around the Agrotech Park and UBD/ITB areas.
  3. The study identified 8 development zones with available land mass:
    • Telisai Energy Park Southern Precinct
    • Panaga /Mumong
    • Tutong
    • Anduki / Sungai Liang
    • Brunei Creative and Knowledge Based Industry Precinct (B-KIP)
    • Telisai Energy Park (Northern Precinct)
    • Brunei Aerotech Precinct

The Ministry of Development and other relevant stakeholders (eg. Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB)) have applied the findings for their policies and programmes.

A CSPS forum on Land Optimization Strategy for Industrial and Commercial Growth in Brunei Darussalam was held in Oct 2011. This study has been published as a CSPS Report in 2013.

Development Analysis and Strategic Planning (2015-2016)

DASP is intended to be a longitudinal study whereby national development indicators are updated and analysed on an annual basis resulting in an annual development report (CBDR). The objective of this study is to:

  • To review national development performance based on the goals of Wawasan 2035.
  • To identify current and future development trends
  • To formulate future development options and strategic policy plans and recommendations

In 2015, CSPS prepared the first pilot report on Economics & Finance Strategy. The report analyses trends and projections from the last decades for basic indicators, providing cross-country comparisons and identifying policy areas that need improvements. Areas of analysis were, among others: macroeconomy, employment, competition, infrastructure, capital market, economic cooperation, and energy.

CSPS has also prepared the first pilot report on the Education Strategy. The report analyse indicators based on the policy directions highlighted in the Outline of Strategies and Policies for Development (OSPD) for 2007-2017. Particular focus was given to the following policy areas: early childhood education, teaching and learning practice, educational expenditure by institutional sources, initiatives in e-learning and distance programmes, and the research and development activities by institutions. Development analysis and policy recommendations were provided for each policy area and indicator.

The deliverables for this study consisted of:

  • Updated databank of the Brunei Development Information Kit
  • Two reports on the Economics and Finance Strategy and the Education Strategy
  • One journal article and one working paper.
Optimal Population and Manpower Forecasting (2013-2014)

The main objectives of the project were:

    • To identify the opportunities and threats behind an increase in population size in Brunei Darussalam.
    • To identify future manpower requirements to meet our future economy, both in terms of quantity and quality (skills required).
    • To identify the human resource requisites required in order to have an economy on a sustainable growth path and how can the high standards of the current education system be translated to a skilled and professional workforce.


    The main findings of this study are:

    • In order to achieve economies of scale, scope and sectoral redeployment, and to achieve Wawasan 2035, Brunei Darussalam needs to increase its population at least to 1 million.
    • Manpower requirements should be determined by the market, and they are heavily dependent on the sectors that will be developed in the future private sector of Brunei Darussalam. However it can be anticipated that Brunei will need skills in strategic management, financial planning, project management, human resource, marketing, logistics, IT, law, and economics.
    • The study suggests a possible future development of the construction sector, that will accompany the overall growth in Bruneian population and economic size.

    The key policy recommendations are:

    • Stimulate an increase in the population growth rate, using both financial and structural incentives. Population growth should be achieved both through an increase in the fertility rate and attracting foreign workers.
    • To achieve higher skills, training and education is not sufficient. Workers need to exercise and improve their skills in the private sector. Some sectors, such as construction and 3D manufacturing, may be particularly helpful in allowing the workers to acquire a wide set of skills, that later may be employed in other sectors as well.
    • Caretaking should be corporatised to raise productivity and generate fungible manpower. An aging population will require a stronger caretaking sectors, and the opportunity cost of care is high.
    • Brunei Darussalam sovereign fund may be used not only to high rates of return, but also to build manpower, investing in economies and companies that may allow Bruneians to improve their skills.
    • Provide stronger incentives to develop manpower and raise productivity.
Economic Cluster Development in Brunei Darussalam (2016-2017)

As commissioned by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), this research is to gather preliminary information to guide the initial stages of industrial clusters development initiatives. The first stage of this process was initiated by CSPS, in collaboration with PMO, with the identification of 10 clusters that were seen as relevant to Brunei Darussalam’s economic development and were feasible to become regionally or globally competitive. The 10 clusters are as follows: (1) Energy; (2) Agrifood; (3) Tourism; (4) Education; (5) Health Services; (6) Halal; (7) Financial Services; (8) Business Services; (9) Logistics & Transportation; and (10) Digital Economy.

CSPS has conducted several cluster specific workshops for Logistics, Education, Health Services, Halal, Digital Economy, and Business Services up to now and specific policy briefs for each cluster have been submitted to PMO for their further actions. Workshops for the more established clusters that already have a strategic direction to move towards have not been organised (i.e. Finance, Energy, Agrifood, and Tourism).

The workshops mainly focused on acquiring inputs from the private sector but Government representatives were invited to attend as well. The workshops were usually made up of 20 to 30 participants.

In the cluster specific workshops, participants were asked to craft a vision for their respective cluster. They would then conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis and a gap analysis in relation to their chosen vision. Lastly, they would be asked to outline a few strategic initiatives that would help the cluster achieve the vision.

Participants of the workshops have been supportive of the concept of clustering and have requested to be included in any clustering initiatives initiated by the Government.

One of the key issues faced so far is collecting data on specific clusters as they don’t fall into the conventional industrial classification used by Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE).

ASEAN SME Policy Index 2018 (2017-2018)

This is a large-scale ASEAN project, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), in which CSPS was appointed as the national consultant for Brunei Darussalam and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) as the national coordinator.

The ASEAN SME Policy Index aims to provide a tool to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) policies for all member states, evaluated in 8 dimensions that allow benchmarking with international best practices. Brunei Darussalam performed relatively well in areas such as having a robust legal and regulatory framework on access to finance, company registration, and e-Government. However, there are several areas that require more government attention, especially in environmental policies targeting SMEs, encouraging social enterprises and inclusive SMEs, and improving public-private consultations.

Updating the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) and Passenger Exit Survey for Brunei Darussalam (2016)

This study was commissioned by The Tourism Development Department, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) to assist in the updating of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) for the year 2010 to 2016. The objectives of the study are:

  • To collect, analyse and update the data required to compile the Tourism Satellite Accounts for Brunei Darussalam and its contribution to the GDP for the years 2010-2016.
  • To assess the attitudes and preferences of a sample of tourists coming to Brunei Darussalam, as well as their level of satisfaction with the infrastructures and services available.
  • To identify patterns and correlations between preferences, behaviours, and background characteristics of the sample of tourists.

CSPS conducted a passenger exit survey to estimate the expenditure and assess the attitudes, preferences of a sample of tourists coming to Brunei Darussalam, as well as their level of satisfaction with the infrastructures and services available.

The main findings of the TSA include an estimation of total tourism expenditure by foreign visitors and domestic tourists, as well as direct and indirect tourism-induced GVA and employment, therefore measuring the overall impact of tourism on the economy.

The final report has already been submitted to MPRT for comments and approval.