Sharjah has been named as one of the top 10 cities in the world for connectivity, coming in ahead of several cities including Frankfurt, Manchester, Miami, and Dubai.
Ranking in at number six on the 'Top Ten Global Cities of the Future Survey', Sharjah's high rank is attributed to its world-class regional infrastructure, and its attraction as a business destination for foreign investors. London topped the list, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Paris, in that order.
The report, conducted by FDi Intelligence Magazine, a division of London's Financial Times, also revealed that Sharjah's logistics, seaports, and airport capabilities had all the qualities to secure them a place in the leading global connectivity cities. The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) noted that Internet penetration, and the capability and ease of movement of goods, are areas in which Sharjah has made unprecedented progress.
"This is a great endorsement of the strides Sharjah has made in recent years and the progress that we continue to make in terms of internal achievements and international investments. Connectivity is the cornerstone of good business and with the right infrastructure in place, the world becomes a more accessible market and Sharjah plays a more influential role," said Mohammed Al Musharrkh, director of the Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah).
Al Musharrkh also said that Sharjah's recently unveiled Dh22 billion budget for 2017, the highest in the emirate's history, is a sign of the emirate's commitment towards a truly global strategy. "Of that Dh22 billion, economic development has been allocated 41 per cent, reflecting the emirate's growing interest in enhancing its economic competitiveness, while infrastructure enjoys 31 per cent of the budget allocation - that's higher by seven per cent compared to 2016," he said.
Speaking at a recent event, Shaikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, chairperson of Shurooq, also highlighted the emirate's progress when it came to economic diversification. "Sharjah has continuously demonstrated its capabilities to function as a prime destination for sustainability, distinction and innovation across the GCC and Mena region," she said.
"Sharjah continues to embark on both its humanitarian and natural resources as part of its grand vision on the emirate's economic sustainability, as well as moving forward and being more strategic through its economic diversification process," she noted. "Due to our efforts in developing a sustainable government integration framework, our economy continues to open its doors to more international investors, strengthening Sharjah's position as a top investment destination in the region. These opportunities form a key launch platform for Sharjah where it can work towards catering and servicing new demands made by investors, as well as form strategic business models for its future."
In terms of Internet speeds and use, Sharjah scored highly due to its efforts to increase access and penetration. The latest statistics show that 71 per cent of the population use the Internet. In international infrastructure and logistics facilities, with 29 scheduled airlines, and direct connections to more than 65 destinations around the globe, Sharjah International Airport is the second largest air freight hub in terms of cargo tonnage in the Middle East.
The emirate also has three deep-water ports, providing vital access to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. Port Khalid, Hamriyah Port, and Khorfakkan Port have a combined capacity of more than five million containers and are fully equipped to handle a wide range of vessels, from break-bulk to containers.
The top ten connectivity cities of the future are:
3. Hong Kong
9. Miami US
10. Dubai UAE
By Rohma Sadaqat
Editor's note: This article has been amended to include the top ten cities for connectivity.
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