Dubai and Abu Dhabi have topped the Middle East region for the second successive year in global ranking of smart cities, surpassing other advanced urban hubs such as Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo, in their use of technology to improve the quality of life for residents.
While Abu Dhabi jumped 14 spots ranking 42nd among 109 cities in the 2020 Smart City Index by The Institute for Management Development (IMD), it is still ahead of Dubai, having climbed two positions, touching 43, according to Swiss Academic Institute.
“We cannot ignore the impact of Covid,” said IMD Professor Arturo Bris. “Those with better technology, manage the pandemic better. Smart Cities are not the solution, but technology helps.”
The Smart City Index ranks the cities based on their economic and technological data, and the citizens’ perception of how “smart” their cities are.
Together with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), the IMD released the 2020 Smart City Index with key findings on how technology is playing a role in the Covid-19 era, in a manner that is likely to continue in the post-pandemic season too. This is the second edition of IMD-SUTD Smart City Index Report.
For the report, respondents from 109 countries were surveyed in April and May this year, based on their technological provisions in five major sectors, namely, health and safety, activities, mobility, opportunity and governance.
Abu Dhabi is completely focused on using advanced technology to develop its non-oil sector, inline with its strategy to diversify its economy, and to reduce its dependency on hydrocarbons, attract foreign investments, and draw highly skilled employees and to create jobs.
Apart from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Zurich, Helsinki, Auckland and Oslo were in the list of top five in the 2020 Smart City Index, while several other European cities fell in their rankings.
The last five rankings in this year’s index were for cities in the African continent, namely, Rabat, Cairo, Abuja, Nairobi and Lagos.
In the year 2020, the rankings indicate that cities have varied approaches to technology, as managing the pandemic was the priority for governments.