Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cost of Living Middle East - October 2011

The Middle East's most expensive city is Israel for the first time (ranked 80 in the world). The economy of Israel, despite limited natural resources, has seen intensive development of the agricultural and industrial sectors over the past decades which has made Israel largely self-sufficient in food production, apart from grains and beef. Historically, Jerusalem's economy was supported almost exclusively by religious pilgrims, as it was located far from the major ports of Jaffa and Gaza. Jerusalem's religious landmarks today remain the top draw for foreign visitors, with the majority of tourists visiting the Western Wall and the Old City. The government, centered in Jerusalem, generates a large number of jobs, and offers subsidies and incentives for new business initiatives and start-ups. Recently, in one of the largest social protests in Israel's history, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest the high cost of living in the country and demand government action. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently appointed a special panel of experts to draft a series of recommendations on how best to reduce the cost of living. The panel is due to discuss the growing sense of disparity in Israel. Despite promising figures of growth and low unemployment rates, many Israeli feel the prosperity is not shared by all. Israel is followed by Abu Dhabi (ranked 84) and Doha (ranked 100).  

The ten most expensive cities in the Middle East (Global rank in brackets):
1. Israel, Jerusalem (80)
2. United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi (84)
3. Qatar, Doha (100)
4. Bahrain, Manama (119)
5. Lebanon, Beirut (120)
6. United Arab Emirates, Dubai (136)
7. Palestinian Territories, West Bank (142)
8. Iran, Tehran (174)
9. Syria, Damascus (191)
10.Saudi Arabia, Riyadh (211)