Riyadh rises 18 places to 53rd rank in global list of smart cities

A night view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)

Saudi Arabia’s capital city has jumped 18 ranks to finish 53rd out of a total of 109 cities in the world list of smart cities.

Globally, Singapore, Helsinki; and Zurich have come out on top in the index in a year that saw many European cities fall in the rankings.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have emerged; as the smartest cities in the region.

The UAE capital jumped 14 spots to rank 42nd; while Dubai rose two places up to 43rd.

Others in the top 10 included Auckland, Oslo; Copenhagen, Geneva, Taipei City, Amsterdam, and New York; while the African cities of Abuja; Nairobi, and Lagos ranked bottom.

Issued by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD); the Smart City Index; now in its second year; ranks cities based on economic; and technological data; as well as by their citizens’ perceptions of how “smart” their cities are.

“According to the survey; which measures residents’ satisfaction in the services and technologies available in their city; the residents of Riyadh are more satisfied with their city’s offering than some of the most advanced cities of the world;” IMD said in a statement.

New lifestyle

“The world’s smart cities don’t simply adopt new technology, they make sure it truly improves citizens’ lives,” said Arturo Bris of IMD.

Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said that Riyadh’s performance came as a result of the many improvements the city has implemented.

“Riyadh has made great progress in its performance this year, surpassing cities such as Tokyo, Rome, Paris; and Beijing. This is a strong message that Riyadh has come a long way to develop and improve the quality and standard of life of its citizens,” he underlined.

“The progress achieved in Riyadh over the past twelve months constitutes an example to follow, and a lesson that other cities can benefit from to become smarter and meet the requirements of their residents,” he added.