Global management consulting firm Kearney has released the findings of its Global Cities Report 2021, analyzing the performance of 156 cities around the world, and how they were impacted by the pandemic and by containment measures.
Rankings measure cities by their ability to attract and retain global capital, people and ideas and sustain that performance over the long term. Globally, cities have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected some or all of these measures – but some have weathered storms better than others.
Ultimately, cities that were more resilient to the pandemic and were better able to adapt to changing circumstances were ranked higher.
The report also provides recommendations that cities could follow on the road to recovery.
Of the 13 African cities included in the study, Johannesburg remained the highest remaining in 55th place – the same position as in 2020. The report, however, showed that Cape Town, which ranked 77th in last year, lost four places and now ranks 81st.
The outlook for both cities remains negative, however, with the report placing both Johannesburg and Cape Town in the bottom 50 in this ranking. Cape Town’s outlook is more positive, ranked 122nd, while Johannesburg ranks further at 126th.
Kearney’s Outlook report highlights the powerful ripple effects of the quality of healthcare on the future viability of a global city. Reflecting the overwhelming impact of the pandemic, measures of personal well-being are the biggest predictors of change in overall scores and rankings, he said.
There has been an overall drop in scores due to the pandemic, the group noted.
Despite the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the reigning cities in this year’s results, they have demonstrated their resilience.
New York, London, Paris and Tokyo retained the top four positions in the index, once again demonstrating the robustness of the diversity of their global strengths, Kearney said.
However, there have been changes at the top of the index. Los Angeles entered the top five, capitalizing on Beijing’s decline in the face of both the pandemic and complex changes in the global business landscape.
âIn the coming year, we expect the divergence between global cities to widen,â the group said.
âWhile global cities that are already showing signs of economic recovery are likely to continue their upward trend, low-scoring, less-connected global cities will likely drop in our rankings next year, as the full effect of the pandemic is reflected in the measurements used. for measurement purposes, especially given the uneven distribution of vaccines around the world.
âNonetheless, unprecedented global efforts in vaccine development and production have accelerated a return to some form of normalcy, however partial and fragmented it may be. As cities enter this new phase, they are armed with real-world experience and better science, enabling leaders to better navigate the ongoing turmoil. “
World’s best cities
The world’s best cities are ranked on 29 metrics across five categories, including business activity (capital flow, market dynamics, large firms), human capital (education levels), information exchange (access to information, internet and media), cultural experience (sport, museums and exhibitions) and political engagement (political events, think tanks and embassies).
Perspectives from Global Cities
The Global Cities Outlook is based on 13 indicators divided into four categories, including personal well-being (security, health care, inequalities and the environment), economy (long-term investments and GDP), innovation (entrepreneurship , private investments and incubators) and governance. (stability, transparency, bureaucracy and ease of doing business).
Face the challenges
Highlighting the strategic imperatives for city leaders in recovery, the report highlights ways in which cities can meet the challenges they share. Five strategic steps are imperative for city leaders:
Winning in the competition for global talent
- Human capital is the engine of a city’s economic activity.
- Faced with ever greater competition for talent, cities must adapt to the new priorities of potential residents, with a renewed emphasis on urban livability and equitable access to economic opportunities.
Embrace the growing digital economy
- The global digital economy threatens to disrupt the value proposition of cities, but the risk is overstated.
- Cities that harness the advantages of the global digital economy to generate a differentiated competitive advantage will accelerate economic growth.
Ensuring economic resilience by balancing global and local resources
- The fragility of the global trading system was revealed in the early months of the pandemic.
- Cities must recalibrate the optimal balance of trade and economic relations at the global, regional and local levels to be resilient to future disruptions.
Adapting to climate change
- Climate change is definitely the challenge of our time.
- In the absence of unified global leadership on the subject, cities (responsible for over 70% of global carbon emissions) must lead the way towards sustainability.
Investing in individual and community well-being
- Beyond the immediate impact of the pandemic on public health, measures taken to counter its spread have contributed to a global welfare crisis.
- Cities must focus their investments on improving the well-being of their populations and strive to develop an environment in which innovation can flourish.
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