Brussels
Brussels, Belgium

Serving as the centre of administration for Europe, Brussels’ economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various administrations, and by related services, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery and the Lambic brewery.

Cairo
Cairo, Egypt

Cairo is in every respect the centre of Egypt, as it has been almost since its founding in 969 AD. The majority of the nation’s commerce is generated there, or passes through the city. The great majority of publishing houses and media outlets and nearly all film studios are there, as are half of the nation’s hospital beds and universities. This has fueled rapid construction in the city – one building in five is less than 15 years old. This astonishing growth until recently surged well ahead of city services. Homes, roads, electricity, telephone and sewer services were all suddenly in short supply. Analysts trying to grasp the magnitude of the change coined terms like “hyper-urbanization”. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.

Dubai
Dubai, UAE

Dubai’s gross domestic product is US $83.4 billion. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 7% of the emirate’s revenues. It is estimated that Dubai produces 50,000 to 70,000 barrels (11,000 m3) of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from offshore fields. The emirate’s share in UAE’s gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai’s oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years. Real estate and construction (22.6%), trade (16%), entrepôt (15%) and financial services (11%) are the largest contributors to Dubai’s economy. Dubai’s top exporting destinations include India (US$ 5.8 billion), Switzerland (US$ 2.37 billion) and Saudi Arabia (US$ 0.57 billion). The emirate’s top import sources are India (US$ 12.55 billion), China (US$ 11.52 billion) and the United States (US$ 7.57 billion). India is Dubai’s largest trade partner.

Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is ranked 29th among the world’s urban areas. Istanbul’s economy has been one of the fastest growing among OECD metro-regions. According to Foreign Policy and the McKinsey Global Institute, Istanbul will register the 14th-highest absolute GDP growth among world cities by 2025. Istanbul is responsible for 27 percent of Turkey’s GDP, with 20 percent of the country’s industrial labor force residing in the city. Its GDP per capita and productivity are greater than their national averages by 70 percent and 50 percent, respectively, owing in part to the focus on high-value-added activities. With its high population and significant contribution to the Turkish economy, Istanbul is responsible for two-fifths of the nation’s tax revenue. That includes the taxes of thirty-seven billionaires based in Istanbul, the fifth-highest number among cities around the world. Istanbul is home to Borsa Istanbul, the sole exchange entity of Turkey, which combined the former Istanbul Stock Exchange, the Istanbul Gold Exchange, and the Derivatives Exchange of Turkey. As the only sea route between the oil-rich Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the Bosphorus is one of the busiest waterways in the world; more than 200 million tonnes of oil pass through the strait each year, and the traffic on the Bosphorus is three times that on the Suez Canal. Istanbul is an increasingly popular tourist destination; it the world’s fifth most-visited city.

Zurich
Zürich, Switzerland

Zürich is a leading financial center and global city. The Greater Zürich Area is Switzerland’s economic centre and home to a vast number of international companies. By far the most important sector in the economy of Zürich is the service industry, which employs nearly four-fifths of workers. Other important industries include light industry, machine and textile industries and tourism. Most Swiss banks have their headquarters in Zürich and there are numerous foreign banks in the Greater Zürich Area. Located in Zürich, the Swiss Stock Exchange was established in 1877 and is nowadays the fourth most prominent stock exchange in the world. In addition Zürich is the world’s largest gold trading centre. Ten of the country’s 50 largest companies have their head offices in Zürich, among them ABB, UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re and Zürich Financial Services. The high quality of life has been cited as a reason for economic growth in Zürich. The consulting firm Mercer has for many years ranked Zürich as a city with the highest quality of life in the world. In particular, Zürich received high scores for work, housing, leisure, education and safety. Local planning authorities ensure clear separation between urban and recreational areas and there are many protected nature reserves. Other cities in the country, Bern and Geneva, were also listed among the top ten. Zurich LakeZürich is also ranked the sixth most expensive city in the world. The city ranked behind Hong Kong and ahead of Copenhagen. It is the third most expensive city in Europe and second most expensive city in Switzerland after Geneva.

Zürich benefits from the high level of investment in education that is typical of Switzerland in general and provides skilled labour at all levels. The city is home to two major universities, thus enabling access to graduates and high technology research. Professional training incorporates a mix of practical work experience and academic study while, in general, emphasis is placed on obtaining a good level of general education and language ability. As a result the city is home to many multilingual people and employees generally demonstrate a high degree of motivation and a low level of absenteeism. Such characteristics are reflected in the high level of productivity the region enjoys and account for the opening of offices and research centres in the city by large corporations.

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