Cairo ranks 57th. out of 60 on Economist’s Safe Cities Index 2021

Cairo has ranked 57th out of 60 cities on index of the Safest Cities for 2021, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit has.

Cairo is back on the Economist’s Safe Cities Index — and it’s still not particularly safe, where Egypt’s capital city has been ranked the 57th safest city out of 60 major urban centers assessed by the Economist Intelligence Unit for its 2021 Safe Cities Index.

How can the “safeness” of a city be measure?

The EIU’s biennial index grades each city using a total of 76 indicators grouped within five broader metrics of safety: digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental. The performance of each city across these five categories is then aggregated to produce an overall ranking.

Cairo ranked below average in all categories, and landed near the bottom of most. It scored particularly badly in the environmental security category, in which only Kuwait City stopped it from landing rock bottom.

And it slipped two places in the overall rankings from the last report in 2019 due to declining scores in the infrastructure, health security, as well as the environmental safety categories.

Health, personal safety and infrastructure rankings continued to decline: Since first being included in the index in 2017, Cairo’s ranking in these three categories has declined with each new report, and 2021 was no exception. Its health score fell one place to 57th, and was held back especially by poor ratings for public health services and a low number of doctors and hospital beds.

The EIU ranked the availability of healthcare as adequate and gave Cairo full marks for mental health service provision. Interestingly, the EIU handed Cairo a near-perfect ranking for covid-19 mortality despite Egypt having one of the highest mortality rates for the virus in the world.

Cairo’s infrastructure ranking fell to 56th from 53rd in 2019. The city received very low ratings for its lack of basic housing, the high numbers of people living in slums and its poor rail network, and received average grades for its road system and water infrastructure. The infrastructure ranking was lifted by good ratings for its power network, transport safety enforcement, and road traffic incidents.

Keeping it in perspective: The government has earmarked EGP 933 bn in public investment spending this current fiscal year, and expanded the EGP 600 bn universal healthcare system over the past three years. That said, the government’s first target for infrastructure development and the rollout of the healthcare system has been the long-neglected governorates outside of Cairo and Alexandria, so it is perhaps not surprising that the fruits of these programs is not being seen in Cairo.

Personal safety results were mixed: Despite the city’s personal security ranking rising two places to 51st, the rating dropped quite significantly to 48.1, from 59.3 in 2019. According to the EIU, Cairo remains at risk of violence, particularly from civil unrest, while comparatively low spending on social security and a lack of laws safeguarding women’s safety from domestic violence and harassment weighed on the ranking.

Interestingly, the city actually scored favorably on the metrics measuring actual violence against women, and despite high levels of poverty, received a good score for economic security and levels of income inequality.

Environment: Cairo was ranked second-to-last in the environmental category, mainly due to its poor waste management system, the high volume of waste, water stress, and the low use of sustainable energy sources.

The poor environmental ranking masks some positives though: Cairo received full marks for renewable energy incentives and was recognized for its initiatives to promote a greener economy. Since the completion of the 1.5 GW Benban solar park, Egypt’s been a hotbed of renewable energy investment.

The government has also been spearheading a national project to swap out petrol-powered cars for vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), reducing nitrogen oxide emission by 30-60% and carbon-monoxide emissions by 97%.

The bright spot: Cairo’s digital security ranking moved up four places to 54th in the world, helped by a strong privacy policy rating and good cyber security. The ranking was held back by the country’s lack of public-private partnerships in the digital sphere and insecure internet servers.

Egypt saw a sharp rise in the use of digital services in 2020, including social media, financial technology, and e-commerce platforms. Last year, Egypt saw a 2.9% y-o-y increase in mobile connections and an 8.1% y-o-y increase in internet usage. As of January 2021, Egypt had a mobile penetration rate of 92.7% and an internet penetration rate of 57.3%.

According to the index’s fourth edition, Denmark’s Copenhagen was labeled the safest city in the world in 2021.

The report, sponsored by the NEC, ranks 60 cities around the world in terms of safety based on five indicators: digital security, health, infrastructure, personal security and environmental security.

Alongside Cairo, five other Arab cities were ranked, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Kuwait City, and Casablanca.

The Safe Cities Index 2021 is a report based on the fourth iteration of the index, which ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security. The fourth edition of the EIU’s biennial Safe Cities Index for the first time included environmental security metrics.

Copenhagen has overtaken Tokyo, which topped the index in the last three EIU iterations, as the safest city. It is followed by 

The European capital came first with 82.4 points out of 100, and Toronto followed close behind with 82.2 points. The third safest city is Singapore with 80.7 points.

In previous three indices, the second and third position had been held by Singapore and Osaka.

The other countries in the top 10 include Sydney, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Wellington, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Stockholm.

Among the least safe of the 60 cities measured were Lagos, Cairo, Caracas, Karachi and Yangon.

Safety has long been a paramount concern for travelers when it comes to deciding which destination to visit.

But the world has been turned on its head in recent years due to the global pandemic and the notion of exactly what makes somewhere “safe” has changed significantly.

This may help to explain the shake-up at the top of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI,) which ranks 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security, as well as environmental security, a new category for this year.

While Asian cities like Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka have continuously occupied the top spots year after year, it’s a European destination that holds the number one position for 2021.

Copenhagen has been named the world’s safest city for the first time, scoring 82.4 points out of 100 in the annual report.

Denmark’s capital jumped from joint eighth place in 2019 to the top of the list, largely thanks to the introduction of an environmental security section, which the city scored particularly well in, along with personal security.

“One key factor that makes Copenhagen such a safe city is its low crime rate, currently at its lowest level in more than a decade,” Lars Weiss, lord mayor of Copenhagen, says in the report.

“Copenhagen is also characterized by great social cohesion and a relatively narrow wealth gap. It is a mixed city where both the cleaning assistant and the CEO meet each other at the local supermarket and have their kids in the same school.

“This is one of the very cornerstones of Danish culture, and it contributes greatly to the high levels of trust and safety that we benefit from.”

Canada’s Toronto just missed out on the top spot, taking second place with 82.2 points, while Singapore was third with 80.7 points.

Although Sydney came fourth, with 80.1 points, the Australian city topped the digital security category, while 2019 winner Tokyo was awarded 80.0 points, putting the Japanese city in fifth place.

However, Cairo remains lagging at the very end of the world’s safest cities (57th. out of 60), according to the Economist’s index.