MANAMA: Manama has been named as Global City of the Future, thanks to its strong banking infrastructure, adoption of smart government services and investment in education.
Manama ranked eighth, in A. T. Kearney’s latest report ‘Global Cities of the Future, a GCC Perspective’, developed for the World Government Summit 2017. Several factors have contributed towards this position including the city’s competitive business culture, strong information and communication infrastructure and educated middle class.
According to the global management consulting firm’s report, Manama is considered the largest financial center in the GCC, hosting over 370 financial institutions, with a growing focus on Islamic finance. The city also has a higher number of international schools compared with other GCC cities. Additionally, several think tanks that reside in the city host international meetings such as the IISS Manama Dialogue, which is focused on security issues.
Bahrain’s 2030 vision is to focus on a productive and a globally competitive economy. The recent growth in GDP per capita and government reformation movements further contribute to Manama’s business potential, complemented by the city’s established banking infrastructure and the development of new business hubs. The city is also on track for the development of smart and efficient government services.
“Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 is to focus on a productive, globally competitive economy, shaped by a fair government, a pioneering private sector, and a broad middle class of Bahraini nationals. Manama’s growth in various sectors including banking, education and infrastructure, supported by the National Development Strategy, takes the country several steps forward towards achieving this vision,” Michael Romkey, principal with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report, said.
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.
“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,” Michael Romkey, added.