Abu Dhabi ranked as the smartest city in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for 2023, according to the annual IMD Smart City Index released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland. This will be the third consecutive time the UAE capital has received this prestigious recognition.
The IMD surveyed 120 residents in 118 cities worldwide. Abu Dhabi surpassed several international capitals to rank 13th globally out of the 141 cities included in the current ranking. The study evaluated current infrastructure and digital services available to residents, relying on variables related to residents' perceptions and interactions with government efforts in five main pillars: health and safety, mobility, activities, opportunities (work and education systems) and governance.
Commenting on the achievement, H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), said, “Abu Dhabi's leadership in this field is a translation of the leadership's vision and commitment to supporting the digital transformation journey and utilizing it to serve the community and enhance its well-being and quality of life. Through employing next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) and developing smart city initiatives across various societal, service and economic sectors, including public and smart transportation, Abu Dhabi has been able to establish itself as a smart and sustainable city and one of the best global destinations to live, work and visit.”
Zurich took the lead in this year’s survey, with Oslo in second place and Canberra in third.
Asian and European cities dominated the top 20 cities out of the 141 studied. Six cities show either continuous improvement or year-on-year stability. These “super-champions” are Zurich, Oslo, Singapore, Beijing, Seoul and Hong Kong. The 2023 findings also demonstrate the increasing “smartness” of second-tier cities such as Montreal, Denver, Lausanne and Bilbao.
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Smart cities contribute to the development of many key sectors in the emirate, such as the smart transportation sector and the smart economy, which is based on advanced software that helps develop many sectors such as supply, delivery, and joint support services.
Additionally, interactive platforms are built with the public to identify their needs and aspirations and interact with them transparently, placing them at the center of government work in addition to developing and facilitating access to services for citizens.
The Smart Cities Index issued by IMD is considered an important reference for international organizations, decision-makers, and institutions to measure the impact of national strategies on enhancing levels of welfare, achieving progress and promoting the quality of life for people.