RIYADH — Riyadh ranks fourth, followed by Jeddah, in A. T. Kearney’s latest report titled ‘Global Cities of the Future, a GCC Perspective’, developed for the World Government Summit 2017. Riyadh is increasingly investing in becoming a regional hub for business and logistics whilst Jeddah is renowned for its influx of pilgrims, positioning the city as a key cultural center.
According to the global management consulting firm’s report, Riyadh is the largest of the GCC cities in terms of population and is the fourth most global city. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is to position the country as the heart of the Arab and Islamic world, an investment powerhouse, and the hub that connects three continents – and Riyadh is well-positioned to achieve this goal. As a part of the city’s effort to become a regional logistics hub for the Middle East, the government is focusing on transforming Riyadh’s transportation infrastructure as well as moving the General Authority of Civil Aviation headquarters to the city.
The report ranks Jeddah as the fifth most global GCC city of the future, with major projects underway to upgrade infrastructure and inspire business activities, while continuing to remain the Islamic hub of the region.
Antoine Nasr, partner with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report, said: “Saudi Arabia is focusing on further developing and progressing key sectors within its main cities to fall in line with its 2030 vision, with the aim of having 3 cities among the top 100 global cities. Both Riyadh and Jeddah, in addition to other main cities, have many unique attributes which hold high promise for further growth in the GCC region.” On an international scale, New York, London and Paris remain unchallenged as the world’s most global cities, although the attractiveness of London as a global hub may change in the future given the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Outlook identifies Melbourne, San Francisco and Geneva as cities that could make great leaps forward in the coming years, driven by changing policies and a shifting landscape.
“At a greater scale and speed than ever before, cities face unprecedented growth of human and societal needs, and at the same time look to boost their economic productivity and competitiveness to increasingly stratospheric levels to be relevant and win in the global stage. Evidently no two cities are the same, and any city looking to play in this league must define its unique position and points of sustainable differentiation and competitive advantage,” added Mauricio Zuazua, partner with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report.
Since 2008, A. T. Kearney has been studying the factors that make a city truly global. These factors include whether the city has influence and power on the global landscape, shares ideas and values that impact other cities, and if the city is attracting capital and talent from around the world. The Global Cities of the Future report provides a unique assessment of the global engagement for major GCC cities, measuring how engaged each city is in five dimensions – business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and politics.
Michael Romkey, principal with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report, said: “We expect to see regional cities implement strategies founded on increased innovation and differentiation. Successful strategies of GCC cities include critical decisions covering innovation, new business models, human capital networks, future-proof governance and connecting infrastructure.”