Dubai Ranks Among Top 25 Global Cities for the Third Consecutive Year: Kearney’s Global Cities Index

Dubai Ranks Among Top 25 Global Cities for the Third Consecutive Year: Kearney's Global Cities Index

Dubai continues to assert its global significance, securing the 23rd position worldwide and maintaining its prominent status within the MENA region on Kearney’s Global Cities Index for the third consecutive year.

In the midst of a changing landscape of globalization, cities across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, have demonstrated remarkable improvements in their global city performance. This has led to the emergence of a new pattern of dispersed global opportunities. Notably, Abu Dhabi has advanced ten places in the global rankings, solidifying its reputation as a significant international hub.

The Global Cities Index (GCI) is designed to assess a city’s ability to attract, retain, and generate international flows of capital, talent, and ideas. Cities are evaluated based on five key dimensions: Human Capital, Information Exchange, Cultural Experience, Political Engagement, and Business Activity.

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After several years of decline, average GCI scores have stabilized, with the Middle Eastern and African cities showing notable improvements. The capital cities of Gulf nations, including Riyadh, Muscat, and Doha, have seen significant jumps in their overall rankings, with increases of nine, eight, and seven spots, respectively. The primary driver of this expansion has been strong performance in the Human Capital dimension, capitalizing on the return to pre-pandemic levels of international travel freedom to attract tourists and migrant talent.

Rudolph Lohmeyer, Partner at Kearney’s National Transformation Institute, observed, “Key cities in the Gulf have emerged as beacons of prosperity, resilience, and opportunity as global trade returns to normalized levels. Their robust economic performance amidst challenging global conditions, combined with a strong focus on enhancing livability and attracting talent, has drawn an increasing number of expatriates, making them a remarkable success story in the post-pandemic world. Their commitment to ambitious national visions and a regenerative mindset is paying off.”

While the Global Cities Index (GCI) reflects the current status of global city leadership, the Global Cities Outlook (GCO) seeks to identify cities with the potential for future global prominence. The research indicates the emergence of a decentralized landscape of global opportunities.

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Furthermore, the study reveals that while cities in Asia, such as Seoul, Osaka, and Chennai, have made notable progress, European cities continue to dominate the top 30 rankings. Second-tier U.S. cities have also performed well, attracting talent and capital in recent turbulent years and establishing themselves as strong competitors to more renowned global cities.

The convergence of rapidly evolving fields like artificial intelligence (AI) and remote work is expected to further reduce the importance of physical proximity in industries traditionally associated with large cities. This may lead to increased disruption in the global city landscape.

Brenna Buckstaff, Manager at Kearney’s National Transformations Institute, noted, “In this shifting global landscape of distributed opportunity, top-tier global cities cannot take their positions for granted. The traditional hierarchy of leading cities will become more fluid in the future as growth opportunities and productivity become less concentrated in the waves of AI-driven innovation. Cities embracing a regenerative model, moving beyond resilience to proactive thinking, will gain a competitive advantage.

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