Find out which are the future global leading cities …

Jakarta, Manila and Addis Ababa are metropolises in emerging countries that have the highest potential of becoming “global leaders” over the next two decades.

This is the outcome of a study released by US consultancy A T Kearney last week that based its methodology on factors such as business activity, human capital and innovation in cities in low- and medium income countries.

“Global leading cities” as per A T Kearney’s definition are such that “differentiate themselves in generating, attracting and retaining global capital, people and ideas.”

The top 20 list of cities in emerging countries also includes urban centres in India, Latin America and Africa, while the only city chosen from the Arab region among the top 20 of the emerging cities is Tunis.

The list compares to a ranking of 84 “global leading cities” of today, which is topped by New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. On that list, Dubai ranks 27th, Abu Dhabi 62nd, Doha 64th and Riyadh 65th.

A T Kearney said it has taken a “holistic” approach to measure the relevance of global cities, and this is why the list has been open to criticism as to why a relatively organised city with outstanding infrastructure such as Kuala Lumpur has only been placed 10th and congested and chaotic conglomerates with a huge wealth gap, educational shortcomings and sprawling slums such as Jakarta and Manila are ranking so well.

“The measures are the likelihood that a city will improve its global standing over the next 10 to 20 years by focusing on the leading indicators of business activity, human capital and innovation,” argues Andres Mendoza Pena, A T Kearney principal and co-author of the report.

Jakarta has been chosen because it is moving up quickly in the area of human capital and addressing stability, security, income inequality, environmental concerns and innovation, while Manila is bolstered by a relatively sharp increase in human capital indicators, with an especially notable improvement in healthcare quality and availability, he says. This would allow these two cities to reach the business leaders of today faster than any other low- or middle-income city in the world, except Sao Paulo, he added.

The ranking was determined by evaluating how cities progressed between 2008 and 2013, and based on this measure the biggest loser is Thailand’s capital Bangkok, which dropped significantly to rank 21 in the emerging cities’ list, mainly due to political and economic stagnation and, in addition, the recent political instability.

Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Manama and Riyadh have not been included in the emerging cities list as they are located in high-income countries, A T Kearney said.

The report also states that “externalities can cause improvement rates to change rapidly — and swift advances are more difficult to sustain as scores improve — so caution is advised [with regards to the forecast]”.

This probably explains why Ho Chi Minh City is ranking at a very low 29th place on the emerging cities list, worse than, for example, Caracas and Dhaka, although Vietnam’s business metropolis just recently announced a socio-economic development plan that will be executed over the next decade, for which almost $500bn will be spent. Source: Gulf Times