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Citi Perspectives for the Public Sector - Vol 1, 2012

Transforming cities for the future

Cities today compete on a global landscape to attract capital, business, talent and tourists. Through our Citi for Cities initiative, we are working with cities to transform the ways in which they operate and develop-helping to enhance public services, facilitate commerce, expand financial inclusion and harness advances in digital, mobile and card technologies necessary to enable positive change.

by Mei Li Tan
Global Head of Marketing
Citi Transaction Services

Citi recently commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit to rank 120 of the world's major cities according to their ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists. The report, Hot spots: Benchmarking global city competitiveness, published in March, ranked New York as the most competitive city, with London and Singapore trailing in second and third, respectively.

"Cities are engines of prosperity and innovation and we are committed to partnering with them to help reach their full potential," said Vikram Pandit, Citi's CEO, following the report's publication. "But as cities vie for investment, talent and business, we recognize that competitiveness is about more than growth. We commissioned this report to improve understanding of market competitiveness and to identify where growth, opportunity and talent are likely to be found in the decades ahead. Its findings provide valuable insight for the clients, institutions, and municipalities we serve in cities around the world."

The most significant advantage that cities in developed countries have is their ability to develop and attract the world's top talent. European and American cities dominate the human capital category of the benchmarking index, as they are able to continue to attract capital, businesses, talent and tourists despite concerns over ageing infrastructure and large budget deficits.

One of the most pressing challenges for emerging market cities in the decades ahead will be whether they can focus their development not just on skyscrapers, rail links and other infrastructure, but also on the softer aspects that will be crucial to their ability to attract and develop tomorrow's talent - including education, quality of life and personal freedoms.

In order to transform their cities for the future, city leaders must harness the possibilities of technology and new financial thinking to address critical efficiency reform, modernize urban infrastructure, and provide socially inclusive access to public services. By embracing transformation, they can enhance their citizens' quality of life and improve their cities' prospects in the international competition for talent and investment. Recognizing the critical role of cities, we created a unique initiative to better serve their needs.

Citi for Cities is a global effort that aims to support transformational change in cities - which is where our clients are, where the talent is and where we can foster progress and create value. This initiative aims to harness solutions and capabilities across all parts of the bank to provide a range of financial services to city governments. Our objective is to help cities become more efficient, to facilitate their modernization and commercial development, and to improve the standard of living in cities around the world. We partner with city administrators to simplify financial processes, deliver improved services to the general public and support small suppliers in the local economy. Cities present a unique opportunity to drive positive change through new models for inclusive engagement with citizens and communities. We are committed to being an enabler of progress in key cities where we operate, driving forward with common purpose and ingenuity to bring the ideas from cities around the world to the clients we serve.

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