10 Most Livable Cities in Africa 2018
First of all, as with any similar list that measures something like “livability,” a somewhat subjective quality, we relied on both quantitative and qualitative data to determine which cities would make this list. Second, we made a determination to only consider cities in continental Africa. For example, without making a human judgment, Port Louis of Mauritius would have appeared on our list, and in fact, has appeared on other lists of the most liveable cities in Africa. While we admire Port Louis, we think that it is not a fair to compare the capital city of what is largely a resort island to the major metropolitan cities on the continent, so we excluded island cities. Third, we aggregated data primarily from African sources, so as to remove a Western bias. For example, we used the Ibrahim Index as a primary source in evaluating safety and security, rather than similar reports from Western governments in an effort to see Africa through the eyes of Africans. Fourth, our criteria included the following: availability of goods and services, quality of infrastructure, and overall security (which is defined both in personal terms and in national political terms).
1. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, let alone Africa, having already won a number of prestigious international travel awards.
2. ACCRA, GHANA
In addition to being a wonderful urban home for roughly 20 percent of Ghana’s 20 million total population, Accra has become the leisure destination of choice for upscale Nigerians who take a quick 45-minute flight to spend time at their Accra weekend homes.
3. NAIROBI, KENYA
Nairobi is fast becoming the African city of choice for multinational companies seeking a foothold for their African operations. Nairobi is a gracious city that possesses much of the sophistication of the large South African cities, but provides these offerings in a “kinder and gentler” way.
4. JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
From the moment you step off the plane at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), it becomes clear why Johannesburg is considered a world-class city. ORTIA rivals some of the best airports in developed worlds. It’s sleek, modern, expansive and offers a wealth of stores and restaurants, much like many parts of South Africa’s and Africa’s economic capital. Since the late 1800s, thousands migrated to the city seeking employment at one of the many gold mines.
5. GABORONE, BOTSWANA
Though young—having only gained independence from Britain in the 1960s—Gaborone has flourished. Politically stable and economically buoyant, Botswana’s capital is considered to be a peaceful city. It’s likely partly due to it being small in size, with a population of just over 230,000, but still offers a diverse mix of people, and places to see.
6. LIBREVILLE, GABON
Modern and vibrant, the country’s largest city is home to just over half a million people. They’re young (nationally, half are 19 and younger) and urbanized. School enrollment rate in Gabon is over 70 percent and literacy is close to 90 percent. In Libreville, it’s over 63 percent, which translates into a most capable service staff in restaurants, hotels, and shops. The French influence extends beyond being the official language, providing for a very stylish city that boasts a grand boulevard with beautiful architecture and monuments.
7. TUNIS, TUNISIA
A lot has changed here since the Arab Spring unrest started nearly two years ago. While unemployment remains a concern and the new government still works toward stabilizing the economy, the smallest country in North Africa is becoming one of the fastest developing. The first half of this year, saw a GDP growth rate of 3.5 percent, with a steady increase in the manufacturing sector.
8. DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Dar es Salaam is a rapidly growing city, from the new infrastructural projects to its people, literally. With an annual population increase of over three percent each year, it’s the third fastest growing city in Africa—and one of the fastest in the world! It also has a large expatriate community. Though no longer the country’s capital, Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania
9. WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA
From the language to the distinct architecture, the German influence on Windhoek is evident—a lasting reminder of Namibia’s early colonial history. Don’t expect big city living; the most recent count puts total population just over 320,000.
10. KIGALI, RWANDA
From the expansion of its Central Business District to the recent road construction project to help ease traffic congestion, Rwanda’s capital is slowly becoming one of the most rapidly developing cities on the continent. Centrally located in the heart of Rwanda, Kigali is home to close to one million people, and there’s also a large community of expats here who get to enjoy the diversity the city has to offer.