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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Why Abu Dhabi is the best city to live in from a man who has been here all his life

A born and bred Abu Dhabian on why the city ranked so highly in a recent index. Is Abu Dhabi really the second best city in the world to live and work in? 

There are good reasons why Abu Dhabi ranked so highly on a recent city index. Christopher Pike / The National
There are good reasons why Abu Dhabi ranked so highly on a recent city index. Christopher Pike / The National

Abu Dhabi was recently named the second-best city in the world to live and work in by Ipsos, a research firm based in France. As a born-and-bred “Abu Dhabian”, it’s great to see the city I call home get the global recognition it deserves. Abu Dhabi’s leaders, organisations and people seem to be working around the clock to develop a city on a par with global hubs around the world.

Speaking of clocks, my “benchmark" for a city being a globally recognised place was having its name on the clock when you checked into a hotel. I always remember traveling with my father as a kid and whenever we checked into a hotel I would ask him why they didn’t have Abu Dhabi’s time on a clock, alongside the usual cities such as New York, Tokyo or London. “One day, son, one day soon, inshallah,” he would respond.

I posted the original article on Abu Dhabi’s success on social media and braced myself for all the negative reaction and trolling. If you have been on Twitter for more than a week, you’ll know what I’m talking about. However, to my surprise, the feedback was mostly positive, with people highlighting the comfort, ease and security they feel living in Abu Dhabi. There were also comments from expatriates who had returned home who recalled their positive experiences from their time in the city.

Now, I know that an article written on Abu Dhabi by a UAE citizen from Abu Dhabi might be the very definition of bias, so let me also address some of the negative feedback I received. One comment concerned Emiratisation. Well, I think it is important to point out that almost every country I know prioritises its local population over expatriates. I am writing this article from California, and from what I know, if a company wants to hire a foreigner it has to prove first that it cannot find an American who can do the job just as well.

Other grumbles were about the cost of living and the price of education. As an Emirati, I can understand why it may seem expensive to many moving to this city, especially when I incorporate my kids’ school fees into the equation. Like any parent, I want the best education for my children, but does it really have to be that expensive?

I know the Government won’t take credit for Abu Dhabi’s latest accolade, but it should. Governments around the world get a lot of flak for being slow and reactive. I think the Abu Dhabi Government has created an environment where people from all over the world can come and believe that anything is possible.

When I used to travel the world for meetings, my international counterparts would also joke at how people in the UAE were always trying to build the biggest, tallest or best things around. But you see, in the process of creating all those things, it built a hunger in the Abu Dhabi Government and community to do what has never been done before: to always strive to make things better for people, in an environment where people are safe and respected. To me, that sounds like an exciting place to live and work - a place that I am proud to call home.

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