Urban world: Mapping the economic power of cities

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McKinsey, a global consultancy firm, has released a report  on the economic power of 600 largest cities of 2025. McKinsey sees a large shift from the major urban developed areas and megacities who are on top of the list now, to a rise of economic power of developing and smaller cities (500.000 + inhabitants). This economic power rises most in Asia (particularly China and India), and Latin America. For businesses, investing in city-hubs, several cities placed close together, will provide the best economic changes. You can check all the cities in this interactive map.

Of the VIA Water focus countries (Benin, Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Sudan), only Ghana hosts 2 cities that will be part of the projected city 600 in 2025 (Accra and Kumasi).

Another important feature in the report is the prediction of growth of cities. McKinsey expects the households in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Chinese regions to grow fastest in the world. But the household sizes will also decline most (from on average 4.1 people to 3.1). This means that there will be an increased need for housing, infrastructure, and services.

In an additional blog, 'Unlocking the future: The keys to making cities great' McKinsey's consultants have three strategies for emerging cities:

  • Achieve smart growth (sustainable, quality of life, and added value/niche markets)
  • Do more with less (cost efficient management, taxing and production)
  • Win support for change (a visionary mayor is not enough, but implementation and support is needed to achieve change)