Dubai crowned as ‘Middle East City of the Future’
Rushika Bhatia
Industry Watch

Dubai crowned as ‘Middle East City of the Future’

Dubai has been crowned once again as the ‘Middle East City of the Future 2010/11 by fDi Magazine underlining the Emirate’s premier status as a preferred foreign direct investment (FDI) destination. Dubai ranked exceptionally well across all categories achieving top positions in Economic Potential, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness.

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General, Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), said: “The ranking of  Dubai as the ‘Middle East City of the Future’ is a strong testament to the economic fundamentals of the city, and the growth potential that Dubai offers to investors from around the world. From creating the right infrastructure to establishing business-friendly policies, Dubai has been focused on all-round development and creating a conducive environment for growth, in line with the strategic vision outlined by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.”

Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai FDI, the foreign investment promotion arm of DED said, “The sustained top ranking by fDi Magazine for Dubai reiterates the strong growth potential that the city offers for foreign investors to set up business and record tangible growth. Foreign investors in Dubai stand to benefit from the city’s advanced infrastructure as well as its strategic location as the regional business hub. The top ranking as the ‘Middle East City of the Future’ will further catalyse foreign directinvestments to Dubai.”

Dubai crowned as ‘Middle East City of the Future’

FDI to Dubai has recorded an impressive growth of 4.5 %  this year compared with 2010 and is poised to make a solid growth of 30 % next year, said Al Gergawi. “The access to a rich talent pool of skilled professionals, the high quality of life that the city offers and the ease of doing business in Dubai are all driving forces for the continued competitiveness of the city.”

The report by fDi Magazine further builds on the standing of Dubai as a preferred foreign investment destination as highlighted by the 201 AT Kearney FDI Confidence Index Report, which ranked Dubai as the “preferred destination of choice for future Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).”

To prepare the ‘Middle East Cities of the Future,’ the fDi Intelligence division collected data from 46 cities under six categories – economic potential, human resources, cost-effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure and business friendliness. The independent judging panel also evaluated data for a new category – FDI promotion strategy – collected from 12 cities. Cities were scored a maximum of 10 points under each criterion and were weighted by importance to get the overall scores.

Dubai attained an impressive total score of 52.05 among 25 Middle East cities. The report also observed that Dubai scored highest in the region in terms of the number of FDI projects from 2003 to June 2010, establishing the city’s leading role as a preferred destination. The city scored a perfect 100 in terms of economic potential, evaluated on the basis of population, total number of patents, GDP, total number of FDI projects, number of companies in R&D, number of FDI mega-projects, global competitiveness and other key parameters.

Dubai also clinched the perfect 100 score in infrastructure measured by the number of international destinations served, airlines served, upload and download speeds, port size, time to export and import, internet users, logistics performance index and e-government web measure index, among others.

The business friendliness of Dubai, in which again the city led the region, was measured against the number of jobs created by FDI, growth of hi-tech manufacturing firms, growth of knowledge based firms, number of days to start a business, economic freedom and innovation, among other parameters.

Strategically located on the Arabian Sea, Dubai is within four hours reach of 33 % of the global population. Dubai’s sound infrastructure, the free zones, and quality of life have established its credentials as an obvious choice for multinational companies to set up base in the city and expand to other key markets in the region.