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Business & Finance

Karachi emerges among least safe major cities in the world: EIU report

  • Ranked 59th out of 60 peers in The Safe Cities Index 2021 report compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit
21 Sep 2021

Pakistan's largest city and Sindh's provincial capital Karachi has emerged as one of the least safe major cities in the world as it was ranked 59th among 60 peers in The Safe Cities Index 2021 report compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Safe Cities Index (SCI) 2021 report ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security.

Pakistan’s financial hub Karachi attained an overall score of 39.7 out of 100 on the SCI2021 index, with only Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, which is facing political turmoil scoring less than Karachi with 39.5 points.

Denmark capital Copenhagen was placed first as the safest city in the world with a score of 82.4 overall and Canada's financial centre Toronto second – but the “first division” remains largely the same.

In each of the last three iterations, Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka – always in that order – have been index leaders. This year Copenhagen comes first, with 82.4 points out of 100, and Toronto follows close behind with 82.2.

“This change reflects not a tectonic shift but more a reordering among cities that have always come close to the top,” said the report.

Meanwhile, Karachi performed poorly on all indicators as well. In terms of digital security, the country's financial hub was placed at 57th spot with 38.5 points. However, the report placed Karachi among the cities that have a smart city plan or plans to invest in the next five years.

“Digital security at the city level is too often insufficient for current needs and insecurity will multiply as urban areas increasingly pursue smart city ambitions,” said the report.

In terms of health security, Karachi fared a bit better and was placed at the 55th spot with 48.4 points. The report was of the view that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic shows the need for a more holistic approach to health security and its closer integration into urban resilience planning.

Whereas, in terms of infrastructure security, Karachi scored 43 points and was ranked at 57th place, reflecting a dire need for infrastructure upgrades.

However, the port city emerged as the worst performer when it came to personal security and was placed at the bottom (60th) spot with 33.3 points.

The report stated that at the urban level, personal security and income levels are connected. “The correlation between city scores for personal security in the 2021 Safe Cities Index and those for the HDI are, after infrastructure, the closest for any pillar,” it said.

Furthermore, Karachi attained the 57th spot with a score of 35.4 in terms of environmental security. As in other areas, the key to success in achieving environmental security will be to take an overarching approach to environmental issues rather than a fractured one, and for cities to work with residents rather than seeking to direct them, the report said.

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