Dubai retains leading position in Global Cities Index for the region


Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Dubai - Abu Dhabi ranks fourth globally in the outlook due to continued focus on high-quality healthcare and sustainability


Muzaffar Rizvi

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Published: Mon 25 Oct 2021, 11:50 AM

Last updated: Mon 25 Oct 2021, 8:15 PM

Dubai remains best city in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region to live and work as it offers an ideal lifestyle, work environment and excellent infrastructure to its citizens and residents, according to experts.

Latest Kearney’s Global Cities report shows that Dubai climbs four positions to 23 in global ranking to retain its top position in the region. The city also ranked fourth globally in cultural experience, reflecting the city’s relatively early reopening to international travellers, bolstered by strict testing requirements, a rapid rollout of vaccines and bluetooth-enabled contact tracing.

In terms of outlook, Abu Dhabi and Dubai ranked fourth and 15th globally, climbing three positions each from the 2020 ranking. It reflects that both the cities continued focus on providing accessible, high-quality healthcare and a commitment to reducing its environmental impact, which is core to the personal well-being dimension. Both the UAE cities co-lead in the outlook for infrastructure, an illustration of the UAE’s commitment to a future of sustainable and resilient economic growth.

Doha experienced the most dramatic jump globally, placing it third regionally. Riyadh ranks fifth in Mena, and leads in Human Capital dimension in the GCC, highlighting its ongoing efforts in attracting international talent and large foreign-born population.

“In Mena, GCC economies, particularly the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are poised to lead regional recovery supported by accelerated efforts of their governments across the five main dimensions of the report. What’s also noteworthy is Doha has recorded the biggest gain globally for any city, a result of the compounded benefits of their strengthened economy and the newly restored regional ties. This reflects the importance of a balance between self-sufficiency and global connectivity,” Antoine Nasr, partner, Government Practice Leader, Kearney Middle East, said in the report.

Comprising of Global Cities Index (GCI) and Global Cities Outlook (GCO), the report measures how globally engaged cities are across five dimensions: business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement as part of the GCI. GCO, which is a forward-looking evaluation based on 13 indicators, assesses how the same cities are creating conditions for their future status as global hubs.

The 11th edition of the reputed report, which offers key insights into how Covid-19 and the resulting pandemic containment measures have impacted the level of global engagement of 156 cities around the world.

Most competitive cities

Saad Maniar, senior partner at Crowe, said Global Cities Index reveals, which cities are the most competitive now in the five key areas from business activity and culture to human capital, political engagement, and information exchange. Dubai being the business capital of the Middle East, certainly deserved this ranking.

“The Global Cities Index and Outlook provide insights into the current performance and future potential of cities. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are placed well to have great potential in all five facets of the index and are foreseen to be the global business hub. While Riyadh is catching up and have shown great potential with the reform that have recently taken effect,” Maniar told Khaleej Times on Monday.He said the future potential depends on the political stability in and around the region and the abilities to bring needed reforms to suit business environment and more importantly the welfare of its people.

“People are the most important asset for the development of any nation and must be given due care,” he said.

Dubai proves its mettle

Atik Munshi, Managing Partner, FinExpertiza UAE, said Dubai has once again proved it mettle and retained the top spot in the region for Global Cities Index.

“Such recognition is the result of the incessant thriving by the government and its officials to ensure that they provide the best to their citizens and residents,” Munshi told Khaleej Times on Monday.

“The very efficient tackling of Covid 19, economic initiatives, stimulus packages, long-term visas, continuous infrastructure and tourism developments are among the few reasons why Dubai stands tall. Winning the Expo 2020 for Dubai has added more flair to the shining image of Dubai. More such accolades may be in the offing,” he added.


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Doha, Cairo rise

Doha saw the largest jump of any city on this year’s Global Cities Index, rising 15 places following the restoration of diplomatic relations between Qatar and its neighbouring countries.

Cairo ranked fourth in the Mena region, followed by Riyadh. Saudi Arabia’s capital city leads in Human Capital in the GCC, where its strengths in attracting international talent and large foreign-born population contribute to the strong showing.

Overall, 21 cities in the Mena region rose six or more positions in the GCI ranking compared to last year. Istanbul climbed seven spots, with the city’s efforts to become a global travel hub proving their worth. Addis Ababa moved up eight places, propelled by Ethiopia’s development investments that have supported rapid economic growth.

“Though they were initially hit hardest by COVID-19, our 2021 report shows that the leading global cities have once again proven their resilience and adaptive capacity. Their broad diversity of strengths positioned them for a quicker rebound that, with leadership focus and clarity of direction, can transition into leadership of a long-term, global recovery,” said Rudolph Lohmeyer, partner, National Transformations Institute, Kearney Middle East.

Globally, New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo retained the top four positions in the Global Cities Index. Los Angeles broke into the top five, benefiting from Beijing’s decline in the face of both the pandemic and the complex shifts in the global trade landscape.

Chicago and Singapore held strong at 8th and 9th place, and Shanghai just beat out San Francisco to claim the 10th spot, while Washington, D.C. dropped from this previously held rank to 14th.

In Global Cities Outlook, Paris, Munich, and Abu Dhabi each climbed three spots, landing second, third, and fourth on the leaderboard, respectively.


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