Growing trade and tourism has helped Dubai become one of the top five fastest growing cities in the world, according to a survey of 300 cities by a leading American think tank.
Dubai is the fifth-highest performing metropolitan economy in the world for last year the Brookings Institution said, as an uptick in trade and tourism positively impacted the emirate’s employment and GDP per capita during the period.
The Brookings Global MetroMonitor survey ranks the economic performance of the world’s largest 300 metropolitan economies over the period, based on growth in GDP per capita and employment rates.
Dubai’s ranking for last year was boosted by a 4.5 per cent growth in GDP per capita and a 6.5 per cent increase in employment during the period. The emirate was ranked 18th in the 2013 survey.
The strength of the emirate’s economic recovery since the financial crisis is highlighted by its climb into the top five last year compared to its ranking of 167th in 2012. In 2010 it was second from bottom at 149th out of 150 cities surveyed.
“Metropolitan areas with a specialisation in trade and tourism benefited from sustained growth in global flows of goods and people,” according to Brookings.
“Following years of sluggish expansion, international trade accelerated in 2014, helping spur growth in infrastructure hubs such as Atlanta, Jinan, and Qingdao.”
The Chinese territory Macau, famed as one of the world’s largest gambling centres, topped the think tank’s economic performance rankings for last year, followed by the three Turkish cities of Izmir, Istanbul and Bursa.
GDP per capita in the 300 metro areas grew by 1.3 per cent in 2014, compared to 1.6 per cent in 2013, according to Brookings. Employment grew at 1.5 per cent in 2014, the same as in 2013.
Economic growth across each region for the period is extremely uneven, according to the Brookings research analyst Joseph Parilla.
“In developed economies like North America and western Europe, cities like London and Houston are flying high, while others like Rotterdam and Montreal are struggling,” he said. “Developing markets are growing faster overall, but vast differences separate cities in central China from those in the northeast, and cities in Peru and Colombia from those in Brazil and Argentina.”
An example of this in the Middle East is Abu Dhabi’s drop in ranking to 137. The capital’s GDP per capita increased just 0.3 per cent from 2013-14 alongside a 2.1 per cent increase in employment for the same period, according to Brookings.
The report for 2012 ranked Abu Dhabi 110th. In 2010 it ranked 43rd.
“Of course the main reason for the slow-down in Abu Dhabi’s GDP per capita growth is the drop in oil prices, given that the oil sector accounts for 55 per cent of the emirate’s economy,” said Alp Eke, senior economist at NBAD.
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