Abu Dhabi rockets past Dubai on A.T. Kearney cities outlook index

13 June 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Abu Dhabi has leapfrogged Dubai on A.T. Kearney’s latest global cities outlook index.

Global strategy and management consultancy A.T. Kearney has released its latest business and human capital focused Global Cities Report, with Dubai holding onto its top 30 ranking among 130 cities assessed worldwide on categories including business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement. Abu Dhabi, however, has dramatically jumped Dubai on the report’s ‘outlook’ index.

Measuring the future potential of cities, the outlook index is compiled by assessing more than a dozen key indicators and averaging their rate of change across each metric using the past five years’ data, before then projecting a decade ahead. Here, Abu Dhabi (69th on the primary index) has rocketed up the rankings, gaining a remarkable 30 places on last year to land in at 20th worldwide, after having spent the past four years static around the 50 mark.

Of all of the cities assessed, Abu Dhabi has recorded the highest five-year gain. Meanwhile, Dubai has climbed an impressive ten places from last year to 32nd, but still however remains seven spots below its high of 25th on the 2015 index. Led overall by London, Singapore, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Paris, the next highest placing Middle Eastern city was Muscat, which itself achieved a stunning 41-place jump to rank in 58th.

The top 25 cities in the Global Cities Index and Outlook

Spread across the dimensions of Personal well-being, Economics, Innovation, and Governance, the 13 indicators in total used to assess future potential include factors such as a city’s safety, healthcare, equality, and environmental performance, as well as long-term investments and GDP, entrepreneurship through patents, private investments and incubators, long-term stability through transparency, quality of bureaucracy, and ease of doing business.

While the A.T. Kearney report notes that, driven by greater openness, the Middle East in general is gaining ground on both Europe and North America, with local improvements on the Outlook index outpacing that of Western cities, not every Middle Eastern city has fared so well. Kuwait City (67th) has dropped eight places over the past five years, while Doha (66th) has slipped six spots, Riyadh (85th) ten spots, and Manama (95th) fifteen places over the five-year period.

On the overall list, where New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong all held their top five positions (with Hong Kong’s future position likely to be impacted should the controversial extradition bill with China come to pass), the highest Middle East city ranking outside of the UAE was for Doha at 61st, followed by Riyadh (67th), Jeddah (75th), and Kuwait City (76th). Baghdad was in 122nd – recently adjudged last on Mercer’s global quality of living index.

“This year’s Global Cities outlook underscores why it is so important for cities and companies to be thinking and planning in the present to prepare for a successful future,” concludes the report. “The competition for human capital and investment is ongoing, and a city’s past success in drawing talent and attention doesn’t guarantee the same going forward… While the Index reflects cities’ current performance, the Outlook reveals which cities are primed to be the next generation of global hubs.”