Abu Dhabi, Dubai top Smart City Index 2021 in Middle East

Singapore, Zurich and Oslo took the top three spots respectively.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 29 Oct 2021, 6:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 29 Oct 2021, 9:44 PM

For the second year in a row, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been ranked as the smartest cities in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Compared to 2020, both the emirates climbed 14 places globally. While Abu Dhabi is ranked 28, Dubai is closely behind at 29, out of 118 cities.

The index, by the Institute for Management Development (IMD), in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), surveys residents in ranked cities to assess smart infrastructure and services covering health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities and governance.

In the past 18 months, the UAE has been able to successfully deploy several smart solutions, which have enabled the country to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The highlight has been the launch of Al Hosn app for contact tracing with a record of all PCR test results, vaccination certification and a QR code to be used as a green pass. This app has been instrumental in the return of activities across the country.

Additionally, the facility of chatbot service: virtual Covid doctor, electronic wristband to monitor self-isolating patients among others are some of the smart solutions implemented by the local authorities.

Such measures have resulted in the number of new Covid-19 cases remaining below 100 for more than a week.

Bruno Lanvin, president, the IMD Smart City Observatory, Switzerland, noted the pandemic has seen an acceleration of digital and ecological transformations in smart cities.

“This acceleration is redefining resilience, which is increasingly becoming a local objective. And cities that have been seen as handling Covid-19 challenges in an efficient and effective way rank high in the report.”

In July, the IMD and the SUTD, surveyed nearly 15,000 residents across 118 cities. In July, the new cases in the UAE were consistently dipping and in the 1,500 range.

According to the rankings, the top 10 are: Singapore, Zurich, Oslo, Taipei City, Lausanne, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Geneva, Auckland and Bilbao. In 2020, Abu Dhabi was ranked 42 and Dubai 43.

The latest accolade is yet another feather in the UAE’s achievements registered over diverse aspects.

Earlier this month, the UAE was ranked by HSBC’s Expat Explorer among the top five best places to live and work. The UAE climbed 10 spots to rank fourth out of 48 markets globally, with most expatriates feeling positive about life in general and expecting better personal finances as well as work-life balance.

Also, according to the latest Brand Finance Nation Brands 2021 report, the UAE was named the world’s 11th strongest nation brand above the US and the UK.

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