The U.S. consulting firm, A.T. Kearney, just released their Global Cities 2014 Index. The report measures the “likelihood that cities in low- and middle-income countries will improve their global standing over the next 10 to 20 years,” based on five factors: political engagement, cultural experience, human capital, business activity and information exchange.
Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, ranked first followed by Manila. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Euben Paracuelles, Nomura’s senior economist for Southeast Asia, notes that Jakarta’s upcoming election could prove to be tumultuous and is more optimistic for the election in Manila.
“Manila I think has done a little bit better [than Jakarta] over a relatively short period of time,” he said. “Assuming they sustain this reform momentum, that bodes very well.”
The Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, comes in third despite having low absolute numbers in innovation. The A.T. Kearney report comments:
[Addis Ababa] improved its performance on the leading innovation indicators by a very large percentage between 2008 and 2013. At current rates of improvement, the Ethiopian capital is also among the cities closing in fastest on the world leaders—despite current distances—in income equality, healthcare, and business transparency.
The report goes beyond the rankings by offering insights for policy makers and business owners, based on forecasts for growth and investment opportunities over the next two decades.
The overview of the GCI and ECO show that today more than ever, global cities need to run just to stand still. Urban leaders that wish to provide their citizens with the benefits of becoming a global powerhouse must fire on all five cylinders (business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement) all the time. To do so requires a deep commitment and broad consensus among governing parties, opposition, civil society, and business leaders. It also requires the complicity of subnational and national leaders to advance on those metrics that are affected by policies beyond the competence of municipal authorities. And it requires everyone to be in it for the long haul.
Business leaders must be a driving force to create a vision for a global city, and to get their city to start fulfilling that vision. Companies also need to be active promoters and participants in the collective effort to create an environment that offers a better collective future.