For the third consecutive year, Dubai is ranked among the top 25 global cities

Dubai has retained its position as the leading city in the MENA region, ranking 23rd globally and consistently maintaining a spot in the top 25 for the third consecutive year on Kearney’s Global Cities Index.

The report suggests that amid a shifting landscape of globalization, prominent hubs worldwide, particularly in the Middle East, have witnessed significant improvements in their global city performance, signaling the emergence of a new scattered geography of opportunity. Notably, Abu Dhabi climbed ten places in the global rankings, solidifying its status as a prominent global hub.

Kearney’s Global Cities Index (GCI) assesses how effectively a city can attract, retain, and generate international flows of capital, talent, and ideas across five main dimensions: Human Capital, Information Exchange, Cultural Experience, Political Engagement, and Business Activity.

After experiencing several years of decline, average GCI scores have stabilized, with noteworthy enhancements observed in cities across the Middle East and Africa. Specifically, the capital cities of Gulf nations made significant strides in their overall rankings, with Riyadh, Muscat, and Doha rising by nine, eight, and seven spots, respectively.

The primary driver behind this growth was strong performance in the Human Capital dimension, as cities capitalized on the return to pre-pandemic levels of international travel freedom to attract a substantial influx of tourists and migrant talent.

Rudolph Lohmeyer, Partner at Kearney’s National Transformation Institute, remarked that key cities in the Gulf have emerged as symbols of prosperity, resilience, and opportunity amidst challenging global conditions. He attributed their success to resilient economic performance, emphasis on promoting livability and talent attraction, which has attracted a growing number of expats, positioning them as success stories in the post-pandemic world.

The Global Cities Outlook (GCO) aims to identify cities most likely to achieve global prominence in the future, while the GCI reflects the current status of global city leadership. Additionally, the research highlighted the emergence of a dispersed landscape of opportunity.

While global hubs in Asia, like Seoul, Osaka, and Chennai, showed notable progress, European cities continued to maintain a dominant position in the top 30 rankings. Second-tier US cities performed well, attracting talent and finance during recent tumultuous years, positioning themselves as competitive alternatives to more prestigious international cities.

The convergence of rapidly developing fields like artificial intelligence (AI) with the trend of remote work is expected to diminish the significance of physical proximity in fields traditionally associated with large cities, potentially disrupting global cities even further.

Brenna Buckstaff, Manager at Kearney’s National Transformations Institute, emphasized that in this evolving global landscape of distributed opportunity, top-tier global cities cannot rest on their laurels. She suggested that cities adopting a regenerative model, moving beyond resilience to proactive thinking, will have a competitive advantage in the future.

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