Abu Dhabi, Dubai most resilient cities in Middle East

Abu Dhabi is currently rated 22nd most resilient city globally and it will retain that ranking till 2028.

General view of the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 21, 2018.

General view of the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 21, 2018.

Reuters/ Hamad I Mohammed

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most resilient cities in the Middle East, according to a new research by Savills.

The Resilient Cities Index by the global real estate advisor examined cities' ability to withstand or embrace the technological, demographic, and leadership disruption facing global real estate today and in 10 years' time.

More importantly, the study rated that both the emirates will remain most resilient cities event 10 years later till 2028.

Data revealed that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are - and will remain - among the top 30 most resilient cities. The UAE capital is currently rated 22nd most resilient city globally and it will retain that ranking till 2028. It was rated 25th a decade ago.

While the region's financial capital will see its rating improving one notch to 26th place in the next 10 years from currently 27th ranking.

Arshad Khan, manging director, Wealth Monitor, said one key thing for any country is to keep up with the competition and quickly adapt and embrace new technologies and innovative approaches.

"That way the UAE is good as they keep on adapting new technologies and innovative solutions. The UAE is far ahead in artificial intelligence, blockchain and other new-age technologies not just regionally but globally also," Khan said.

He credited the UAE's leadership's for bringing the country at par with the world's best cities and countries in socio-economic status.

"I would give top-most rating to the UAE's leadership and its vision. There is a continuity in the vision and implementation strategy. We are so much bullish about India just because there is a strong leadership," Khan added.

According to Savills' Resilient Cities Index, regionally, Kuwait City, Riyadh and Jeddah currently make up the other top five most resilient cities. But by 2028, Riyadh is set to overtake Kuwait City.

The study suggested that courageous investors looking for long-term returns should look to Middle Eastern, Indian and second tier Chinese cities, as the markets that are likely to grow in the face of global disruption in the coming decades, but today remain relatively untapped.

The report specifically identifies Riyadh and Jeddah as among the eight "challenger cities" that will make the biggest leaps up the ranking in the next decade. New York, Tokyo, London and Los Angeles are the top four most resilient cities today, and will remain so in 2028 according to Savills.

In the past decade, the number of cities with gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $50 billion has grown from 177 to 248. By 2028, this number is expected to jump to 317. Those cities with GDP over $50 billion accounted for 83 per cent of global GDP in 2018, an increase from 79 per cent a decade ago. This is forecast to increase to 89 per cent over the next 10 years as the importance of cities continues to accelerate.

Savills Research rated Hangzhou, Riyadh, Nanjing, Ningbo, Delhi, Mumbai, Jeddah and Bengaluru are the top challenger cities.

"The list of the world's top global cities may feel like it's almost set in stone, but, as is becoming apparent, disruption is on the menu and we are set to see some sweeping changes to the way society functions and how businesses operate in the next 10 years," said Simon Hope, head of global capital markets at Savills.

"For real estate investors, our Resilient Cities Index shows that the long-established global cities will withstand much in the next decade, which is why they've seen high levels of investment as they are perceived as 'safe havens' for capital, with the top 10 global destinations for both domestic and cross-border capital in 2018 reflecting this old world order. However, as a result, their real estate assets have become correspondingly expensive and highly sought after," he said. - waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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