Yolaan Begbie of Africa.com has compiled a list of cities in various countries in Africa that would be great for people looking to live, conduct business or travel for extended periods of time throughout the continent. Capetown, South Africa topped the list, followed by Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Gaborone, Botswana. How did the staff at Africa.com come up with the list? They relied on both quantitative and qualitative data to determine which cities would make this list, excluded island cities for a variety of factors explained at the tail end of the post; aggregated data primarily from African sources in order to remove a Western bias; examined availability of goods and services, quality of infrastructure, and overall security (which is defined both in personal terms and in national political terms) and used their extensive network on the continent for qualitative input as a “reality check” to the results that the data yielded.
Check out excerpts of Africa.com‘s most liveable cities.
Capetown, South Africa
It possesses all of the amenities and sophistication of a urban area, yet the pace is decidedly relaxed, with the city being nestled between the ocean and the mountains, creating an ideal mix of work and play. A short drive away and you can find yourself in one of the hundreds of vineyards that produce some of the world’s top wines. While summers (October–April) are lovely, winters can be dreary with much fog, rain, and wind.
Ghana’s capital city is a sophisticated urban area, with a full range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and increasingly, shopping malls. There are many affluent areas, including East Legon—the location of the city’s only traditional shopping complex, Accra Mall. Another popular option is Osu, locally referred to as “Oxford Street”, where many go to shop and hang out. The downtown area has seen much development over the last decade and the range of serviced high rise apartments makes it an easy location to set up home quickly. The warmth of the Ghanaian people is an asset and is an important part of what attracts Nigerians to want to spend their leisure time here. The tropical climate makes it all the more appealing.
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. General Electric and the Rockefeller Foundation recently chose Nairobi to anchor the African operations, so too the likes of China’s CCTV news broadcaster. While there is some tension surrounding the upcoming elections, the government is generally considered stable.
Johannesburg, South Africa
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. The quarries have since dried up but an influx of people continues today. They come from other parts of the country and from across the continent, to work and to make money. Johannesburg is also an attractive base for many African companies as it provides easier access to international opportunities.
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.
Gabs, as it is popularly known, is located in a country known for being one of the world’s largest producers of rough diamonds. The precious stone continues to play a major role in the city’s development. Just recently, leading diamond producer de Beers announced it would be moving some of its operations to the sub-Saharan country from London. Apart from diamonds, the economy is also driven by its beef exports, the majority of which is sold in Europe as well as the growing tourism industry. The development of modern sports facilities saw the city successfully hosting the Africa Junior Athletics Championships in 2011, and has made it a popular contender to host the 2014 African Youth Games.
Read more at Africa.com.