Insights

Nairobi ranked 10th most dynamic global city

With more than half of the world’s population currently living in cities, the success of global cities is becoming increasingly important. Researchers are now attempting to identify the critical characteristics which allow a city to flourish – even during times of economic uncertainty and political turbulence.

According to JLL’s fourth annual City Momentum Index (CMI), a common denominator across all successful global cities is the ability to embrace technological change, absorb rapidly growing populations and strengthen global connectivity. It is these characteristics of openness and agility which enable cities to adapt quickly to each new wave of global change.

The CMI evaluates 134 major established and emerging global business hubs – tracking the speed of change in each cities’ economy and commercial real estate market and then identifying the cities with the most dynamic attributes.

“India has overtaken China to become home to the world’s most dynamic cities…”

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According to the latest CMI, India – with six cities in the top 30 ranking – has overtaken China to become home to the world’s most dynamic cities. Bangalore, India’s primary technology hub, claimed the number one ranking for the first time this year.

Technology is a significant driver of momentum in the world’s fastest-changing cities and is the key reason for Nairobi’s rapid shift up the rankings into 10th place this year. Nairobi is the only African metro included in the CMI’s Global Top 30.

Nairobi recently emerged as a regional technological hub. Not only is it is home to iHub, Africa’s most successful tech incubator, but the city is also a leader in mobile payment technologies such as MPesa. The escalation in tech development is boosting the city’s attractiveness as a preferred destination for regional headquarters on the continent.

Nairobi’s innovation drive, combined with its low costs, robust growth in the consumer market and high levels of foreign direct investment, has resulted in the city being identified as a “high potential city”.

The city does, however, have a number of challenges which cannot be ignored – including poverty, the urban slums and the lack of high quality infrastructure.

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Nonetheless, despite these challenges, JLL notes that Nairobi has a strong urban vision which seeks to address the infrastructure deficit and which continues to promote the development of the technology sector. It is a vision which JLL believes is reinforcing the city’s reputation as a key gateway to East Africa.