A new urban cities study has ranked Nairobi the most innovative city in Middle-East, Africa and among the top twenty cities in the world renowned for its innovation, livability and capacity to re-invent itself. The City Momentum Index (CMI) study, conducted by global professional services and management company JLL, looked at 10 key areas including demographics, connectivity, technology and R&D, education, economic output and corporate activity. Nairobi moved four places up from 15th position as the most dynamic city last year to sit at position 11 in 2016 out of the 120 cities surveyed.
“Nairobi’s impressive demographic and economic momentum is necessitating the creation of infrastructure and real estate to support the city’s expansion as it registers among the highest levels of office and retail construction and absorption of any city in the CMI,” the study states. “The start of construction of Konza Techno City and devolution is laying a solid foundation for the future,” adds the study.
The CMI study notes Nairobi’s position as the centre of technology in Africa, and with a growing number of tech incubators and venture capital funds setting base in the city, as factors contributing to the city’s expanding influence in the world.
Nairobi is ranked ahead of mega cities like Shenzen, Tokyo, Hyderabad and Seoul. London topped the list for the second year in a row for its economic growth and real estate structure as well as initiatives that are transforming transport, such as the research centre currently being developed at White City. Other cities that made it to the top five include Dublin, Silicon Valley, Bangalore and Boston.
“Bangalore (4) and Shenzhen (12) are home to some of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies, and Nairobi (11) is also making a concerted effort to move up the value chain and improve global connectivity,” the study states.
In addition to technology, the study says, real estate is another major factor in city momentum as it can enable productivity, creativity and entrepreneurship while creating a sense of community for its citizens in a sustainable urban model.
“Real estate no longer simply houses businesses – it attracts corporations and talent, and cities need to ensure their built environment provides the smart, productive commercial buildings that corporations, capital and talent now demand,” said Jeremy Kelly, director, global research for JLL.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero is excited about the study, saying it reveals that its importance stretches far beyond its role as an administrative or political centre.
“I am proud of Nairobi’s continuing position as one of the continent’s major urban hubs. The city is now in its 53rd year as the capital of an Independent Kenya. Yet its importance stretches far beyond its role as an administrative or political centre,” Kidero noted.
In 2015, Nairobi was ranked the most successful city in Africa by The Intelligent Community Forum (IFC).