Press release

PwC: Abu Dhabi ranks as most productive Economy

  • By 2025 Abu Dhabi’s employment will mostly be within the leisure , culture and other sectors
  • Among emerging economies, Abu Dhabi is home to most hospitals per capita
  • Least crime rate reported in Abu Dhabi among other emerging economies

Dubai – 16 October, 2012: Abu Dhabi ranked 22nd among 27 cities in the fifth edition of Cities of Opportunity, an annual report released today by PwC and the Partnership for New York City. Cities of Opportunities 2012 analyses the current performance of 27 cities at the centre of finance, commerce and culture and studies the cities’ potential by the year 2025. In addition, the study analyses city employment in the most significant and telling job sectors and projects the trajectory of the cities in jobs, productivity, and population to 2025.

Cities of Opportunity forecasts growth in employment rates towards 2025 in Abu Dhabi’s business services, especially in manufacturing, transport and communications, education and hotels and restaurants. As Abu Dhabi joins the world’s developed cities in terms of jobs today, the study shows that the biggest part of employment will be in the leisure and culture sectors and by 2025 reaching 20.3%, and the city’s total business services will grow by nearly 9 per cent.

“We have always perceived the UAE as a positive environment for growth and we have selected its capital, Abu Dhabi, as one of the 27 cities to be part of the Cities of Opportunity due to its position as a financial, commercial and cultural centre that continues on a path of growth and development,” commented Jacques Fakhoury, PwC Abu Dhabi Senior Partner. “At PwC we have repeatedly discussed talent as core to developing an economy and we are proud to see that Abu Dhabi’s workers continue to add great value to its economy, with the city’s productivity topping the chart ahead of New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.”

With the highest number of hospitals per capita, Abu Dhabi is the top ranked emerging economy in the health, safety and security category, bringing it to a tie with Tokyo. It has surpassed Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid and Hong Kong for this indicator among developed economies. Abu Dhabi also reported the lowest crime rates, bringing it closer to Singapore and Hong Kong, economies that have fared very positively on low crime rates year on year. The capital secured top performance in other key indicators including:

  • 6th in the cost of business occupancy
  • 9th in consumer price index
  • 15th in the iPod index: measuring number of working hours needed to afford an iPod Nano
  • 2nd lowest cost in public transport

Abu Dhabi has resources that many cities don’t have access to, and with the city’s 2030 vision for a sustainable future, the Cities of Opportunities report cites great expectations for the city to improve on its current sustainability ranking. Abu Dhabi ranked last in the sustainability and the natural environments indicator, mainly due to finishing last in two variables, public park space and recycled waste. It has also ranked third from the bottom in thermal control and air pollution.

“The Cities of Opportunity report is a detailed and insightful analysis of how leading global cities stack up against one another,” added Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City. “New York City and London, along with other established cities, maintain their top status because of a depth and diversity of strength across all measures. But the true value of this report is not just the rankings; it is that every city can learn from one another about what works when building a 21st century city.”

The full report, along with in-depth interviews with E.O. Wilson, emeritus professor of entomology at Harvard, Bill Bratton, former New York and Los Angeles head of police, and other leaders are available at


Notes to editors:

Methodology of “Cities of Opportunity”

Cities of Opportunity is a continually evolving project created for cities, their leaders, businesses, and citizens seeking to improve their economies and quality of life. The report is based on publicly available information supported by extensive research. Three main sources are used: Global multilateral development organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, national statistics organizations, such as UK National Statistics and the US Census Bureau, and commercial data providers. The data were collected during the latter half of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. In the majority of cases, the figures used in the study refer to 2010 and 2011 data. In some cases, national data are used as a proxy for city data. Care has been taken to ensure that, where used, national data closely reflects city data. The scoring methodology was developed to ensure transparency and simplicity, as well as comparability across cities.

Taking the data for each individual variable, the 27 cities are sorted from the best performing to the lowest performing. The cities are then assigned a score from 27 (best performing) to 1 (lowest performing). Once all 60 variables are ranked and scored, they are placed into their 10 indicators. Within each group, the variable scores are then summed to produce an overall indicator score for that topic. This produces 10 indicator league tables that display the relative performance of our 27 cities.T

The Cities of Opportunity key indicators and top three cities in each are:

  • Intellectual capital and innovation: Stockholm, Toronto, Paris
  • Technology readiness: Seoul, San Francisco, New York
  • Transportation and Infrastructure: Singapore, Seoul/Toronto (tied for second), Tokyo
  • Health, safety and security: Stockholm, Toronto, Sydney
  • Sustainability and the natural environment: Sydney, San Francisco/Toronto (tied for second), Berlin
  • Economic clout: Beijing, Paris, London/New York (tied for third)
  • Ease of doing business: Singapore, Hong Kong, New York
  • Cost: Berlin, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur
  • Demographics and liveability: Paris, Hong Kong/Sydney (tied for second), San Francisco
  • City gateway: London, Paris, Beijing

Methodology presented for The City Tomorrow section can be found on page 20 of the report.

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