The search for the fdi’s Middle Eastern Cities of the Future began last September. The magazine asked investment promotion agencies, development authorities and national and regional governments to tell us why they should be chosen for an award.

In the first week of January, fdi’s panel of judges systematically worked through entries from more than 20 cities in 15 countries to discover the best locations for investment in the Middle East. The judges used 20 criteria to gauge which locations offer investors the best deal.


Judges were asked to rank their top three locations in each category, three points for first, two for second and one for third. The overall winners in each category are those that picked up the most points.


Middle Eastern City of the Future: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Best economic potential: Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia

Most cost effective: Aden, Yemen

Best human resources: Beirut, Lebanon

Best transport infrastructure: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Best IT and telecommunications: Dubai

Best promotion: Doha, Qatar




Cost effectiveness

-Out of town office rent

-Centrally located office rent

-Industrial rent

-Secretarial salaries

-Middle management salaries

-Manual labour rates



Economic potential

-Economic potential [judged]


-GDP growth

-Level of inward investment

Human resources

-Universities [judged]

-Percentage of population with a degree


-Transport [judged]



IT and telecommunications

-Phone lines per thousand people

-Mobile phone ownership (% of population)

-Internet connectivity (% of population)

Best FDI promotion strategy

-Promotion strategy [judged ]

-Incentives [judged]

-Infrastructure and urban planning projects [judged]

-FDI deals [judged]