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Sharjah Ranked Among World’s Top Ten Small and Medium-Sized Cities

Sharjah, the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates, has been ranked among the top ten small and medium-sized cities in the world in the Global Cities of the Future index for 2014/15 produced by FDI Intelligence.


A report by Sharjah 24 stated that in the ‘Top 10 overall small and mid-sized cities’ category, Sharjah came in ninth globally and third in the Middle East. The judgment was made using a composite of data related to economic potential, business friendliness, human capital, lifestyle, cost effectiveness and connectivity, weighted by importance to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decision-making process.


In certain categories, most notably connectivity, Sharjah achieved a high rating. In the ‘Top 10 Emerging Cities Connectivity’ index, Sharjah came in fourth worldwide and top in the Middle East. In the ‘Top 10 Small and Mid-sized Cities Connectivity’ category, it ranked sixth globally.


In terms of human capital and lifestyle, Sharjah came in seventh globally among small and mid-sized cities, and second in the Middle East. The city also ranked eighth worldwide in the category related to cost effectiveness, ninth in terms of economic potential, and tenth in business friendliness.



Sharjah’s GDP has trebled over the past decade, during which time the city has established itself as one of the most diverse economies in the region. The driving force behind this transformation has been the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).



The ranking was significantly improved thanks to Shurooq\'s relentless effortsalong with the various bodies and government departments to put Sharjah on the global map as an attractive FDI destination. By participating in various exhibitions, conducting roadshows and holding roundtables, as well as hosting global and regional forums, Shurooq and other government entities spared no efforts at showcasing what Sharjah has to offer. Shurooq has also been instrumental in signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with different entities around the world to speed up economic development and generate investment opportunities.


Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq): “Sharjah continues to realise greater accomplishments at every level. Achieving third place regionally and ninth place globally makes it one of the best small and medium-sized cities, reflecting the outstanding leadership in several sectors: investment and business, infrastructure, human resources, and the quality of life offered to its citizens and residents. This has been achieved as a result of the vision and directive of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and to establish Sharjah as one of the world\'s best cities for living and working in the 21st century.”


She added: “Sharjah has been able to establish itself as a leading emirate in the Middle East in many crucial areas, such as in developing an optimal business environment, bolstering internet connectivity, and facilitating the ease of receiving permits. We will continue working to enhance Sharjah’s attractiveness for foreign investment, to provide the necessary facilities and bring major international companies to Sharjah to attract global investment, and to further develop tourist and entertainment areas that enhance living standards for residents and create new job opportunities. We see unlimited growth opportunities for the emirate and for the United Arab Emirates.”



Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Seaport and Customs, expressed delight at this regional and global achievement. He said: “Sharjah has achieved substantial milestones in its infrastructure development this decade, so that it can enhance the business environment in the Emirate, it offers facilities for companies and investors, and creates more high-quality facilities for residents and visitors. These factors all led to this impressive ranking, regionally and globally. This achievement will highlight Sharjah’s offerings and attract more investment and tourist activities.”



Sheikh Khalid noted that achieving third place regionally and ninth place globally is a significant achievement amid strong competition from major cities across the world. He added that the Emirate had overcome the challenges facing modern cities today, and created a vision derived from its Arabic and Islamic identity. At the same time, Sharjah has succeeded in offering an attractive and distinctive environment to investors, from individuals and companies, as it becomes a preferred city for family living from all over the world.



HE Abdalla Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Sharjah has been transformed into an ideal investment destination in the region, attracting companies wishing to take advantage of the Emirate’s strategic location, its facilities and its services, in order to spread their presence in both the regional and international markets. Sharjah’s attractiveness is made more evident still by the Emirate’s advanced placement in the list of the best small and medium-sized cities around the world – not only for creating business and expanding, but also for accommodation. We believe that Sharjah is meeting all the criteria to rise to first place over the next few years.”


HE Sultan Abdullah bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department (SEDD) stated that the Emirate of Sharjah today ranks among the world\'s leading cities in developed commercial and economic activities. A multitude of factors have contributed to this outstanding achievement: among which are Sharjah’s diverse economy, its encompassment of the largest industrial area in the UAE, its placement on the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and its accommodation of a number of crucial free zones. The Department has made considerable investment in technological infrastructure and in the development of a number of electronic services. There are 61 services available on the electronic portal to date, while 41 services can be accessed via smart applications designed for mobile devices. These services allow investors to access all procedures without the need to physically visit the headquarters of the department, offering significant savings in time and effort.



Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah\'s distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and the world.


Shurooq\'s key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the Emirate, evaluate investment-related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.


In recognition of its overall accomplishments, Shurooq was named The Banking Awards 2013 – and 2014 FDI Agency of the Year in the MENA region, in the European’s Global Banking and Finance Awards.

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