Which African cities offer the best quality of life?

By howwemadeitinafrica.com

Consulting firm Mercer recently published its 18th Quality of Living Survey, which ranks 230 cities they believe provide the best quality of life.

The study examines over 440 cities, and based on certain criteria, Mercer then decides which 230 make the cut. The cities are chosen and ranked according to a variety of factors, such as the political and social environment, economic conditions, education, and public services, to name a few.


This annual study is viewed as one of the best of its kind, and as such, a city’s ‘quality of living’ can be an important factor when employers consider where to assign their mobile employees.

Only five African cities are ranked in the top 100. Port Louis (83) in Mauritius – according to the survey – has the best quality of living on the continent. It is followed by South African cities Durban (85), Cape Town (92) and Johannesburg (95), with Victoria (97) in the Seychelles featuring in 97th position.

The majority of the lower rankings are dominated by African cities. A few that are placed near the bottom-end are Bangui (239), Khartoum (226), N’Djamena (225), Brazzaville (223) and Kinshasa (222).

Quality of life survey rankings: African cities

1 83 Port Louis Mauritius
2 85 Durban South Africa
3 92 Cape Town South Africa
4 95 Johannesburg South Africa
5 97 Victoria Seychelles
6 113 Tunis Tunisia
7 116 Rabat Morocco
8 126 Casablanca Morocco
9 131 Windhoek Namibia
10 142 Gaborone Botswana
11 149 Lusaka Zambia
12 162 Dakar Senegal
13 163 Libreville Gabon
14 166 Accra Ghana
15 169 Kampala Uganda
16 171 Cairo Egypt
17 175 Blantyre Malawi
18 178 Maputo Mozambique
19 181 Cotonou Benin
20 183 Banjul Gambia
21 184 Nairobi Kenya
22 187 Algiers Algeria
23 189 Djibouti Djibouti
24 191 Kigali Rwanda
25 194 Yaounde Cameroon
26 196 Douala Cameroon
27 198 Dar es Salaam Tanzania
28 199 Luanda Angola
29 204 Lome Togo
30 206 Abidjan Côte d'Ivoire
31 207 Addis Ababa Ethiopia
32 209 Harare Zimbabwe
33 211 Lagos Nigeria
34 212 Abuja Nigeria
35 215 Ouagadougou Burkina Faso
36 217 Niamey Niger
37 218 Antananarivo Madagascar
38 219 Bamako Mali
39 220 Nouakchott Mauritania
40 221 Conakry Guinea
41 222 Kinshasa Congo, Democratic Republic of
42 223 Brazzaville Congo, Republic of
43 225 N'Djamena Chad
44 226 Khartoum Sudan
45 229 Bangui Central African Republic

Safety rankings

Mercer also published a second list that ranks cities according to the security and personal safety of expats and their families. Five out the 10 least-safe cities in the world are African. They are Bangui (227), Kinshasa (226), Nairobi (224), Conakry (223) and Khartoum (222).

Safety plays a big role in the decision process multinationals undergo when they consider sending expat workers abroad. These rankings can assist multinationals to fairly compensate, and provide for, employees that are placed on international assignments.

In a press release, Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s talent business, expanded on the topic:


“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centres around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analysing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces. Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates.”