By Narayan Ammachchi
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts that business competitiveness for São Paulo, Brazil’s financial capital, and Panama City will rise dramatically in the coming decade.
The Brazilian city’s young and rapidly growing workforce, solid telecommunications infrastructure, well-established democratic institutions and financial maturity have been cited as indicators of future growth.
“Major cities in India, Brazil, and other emerging markets are expected to improve their competitive position and gain ground on many cities in more established economies,” said Leo Abruzzese, the EIU’s global forecasting director. “Strong economic growth, improving physical infrastructure, and increasingly skilled labor forces will boost emerging cities’ competitiveness, though North American and Western European cities will ultimately retain their competitive advantage.”
Released this week, the EIU’s report is commissioned by Citi and is titled “Hot Spots 2025: Benchmarking the Future Competitiveness of Cities“.
Sao Paulo is ranked 36th in the list of 120 future cities. Other Brazilian cities – including Rio de Janeiro (76th) and Porto Alegre (97th) – also will have improved their competitiveness signiﬁcantly by 2025, the report adds.
Easy maritime access seems to have helped many cities to raise their rankings. Nine out of ten of the fastest risers (led by São Paolo) in terms of improvement on the overall competitiveness measure are seaports or have easy maritime access.
Panama City ranks 65th in the overall Index. It ranks third in terms of competitiveness in South and Central America after São Paolo and Santiago (60th). Panama City does particularly well in the category economic strength (48th), on which it beats all of its peers in Latin America.
“This is because, despite its tiny population of 1.4m, it is growing at rates only seen in developing Asia. The future of the Panama Canal, on which the city’s future depends, is secure,” says the report.