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Harare and Lagos ranked as the world’s worst cities to live in

African cities don’t perform well in a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranking of the world’s best cities to live in.

Johannesburg is the African city that scored the highest in the rankings.

Six African cities feature in the bottom ten of the rankings, with Zimbabwe’s capital Harare the worst performer. Johannesburg, in 40th position from a total of 70 cities included in the rankings, scored the highest of all African cities.

The new ranking builds on EIU’s Liveability index by including an additional category, Spatial Characteristics, to the existing five categories – Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure. This new category seeks to account for the spatial aspects of city life: urban form (sprawl, green space), the geographical situation of the city (natural assets, isolation and connectivity), cultural assets and pollution.

Best cities ranking – Africa
CityOverall rank (out of a total of 70 cities)

Globally Hong Kong is the top ranked city. Although Hong Kong scored relatively poorly for pollution and cultural assets, the city benefited from strong scores in the natural assets and sprawl categories.


  • abbey

    i was born in lagos , grew up there and still lives there, i would advise against judging a place you havent lived in for at least some time before. Lagos is a busy place but a place i wouldnt trade for any other. and if lagos is such a place as you say it is> how come we have so many expatriates around and so many others coming in daily. i personally see them myself walking the roads and doing business without harassment here. so this ranking to me is bullsh*t

  • Ed

    I agree with most other guys above. Harare is a great, well planned, quiet and safe city. Its population is moderate. It all depends on the intentions of the publishers. They still believe there is no life in Zimbabwe, and they are very wrong. Everyone wishes they could come to Harare. I live in marondera, but hats off to harare.

  • Franklin Nnebe

    EIU probably never traveled to these places. Livability-wise Cairo and Lagos should be jostling for some of the world’s worst cities to live in. Both are densely populated and suffer from the weight of too many poor people scrambling for a living. Harare is a far better experience I would imagine. It has good climate and is well planned.

  • Mell

    Chris, Inno annd Vas I definitely agree with you. Harare is an incredibly safe city with lots of green spaces, vibrant people and the spirit of continued development. At first I was offended by this report but I’ve laughed it off becasue there are so many great things about the city of Harare that have been overlooked that it’s a bit ridiculous. Our utilities could definitely use improvement for social and economic reasons and there are of course a few downsides to every city, but Harare’s a fantastic one to live in.

  • Vas

    I also currently live in Harare and agree thar its a good place. Only downside is that its church-going on Sundays, so heathens have to hang low.

  • Inno

    I agree with Chris, i have been to Jo’burg, Harare and Nairobi but i feel safe in Harare. There is stability and its one one place where you sleep with all eyes closed. It will be best if the wghole report can be shared so that we can see how the ranking was actualy done.

  • chris

    hahaha, this is a joke. I have been to both cities, Harare and Lagos and from my own experience, Harare was mostly peaceful and if anything, more developed than most African cities. Lagos on the other hand, is really a busy city with a lot of buzz. Think of Nairobi, double the activity that happens in Nairobi and that’s Lagos for you. I wouldn’t call it a bad experience though, it’s just different. One huge OVERSIGHT of this report is the constant fear one has when they’re in South Africa. Besides Cape Town and some parts of Pretoria, it would be a biggest contender for the worst city. I know it’s beatiful and everything but living there needs guts…truth be told.

  • Limbikani

    Would be good to have a link to the actual report with the rankings so we see how the cities scored in the different categories of Spatial, Stability, Healthcare, Culture and Environment, Education and Infrastructure.

    Without the full report, it’s hard to see anything into the rankings.

    • Editor

      The report can be downloaded at You will need to register first, but it is a relatively simple process – Ed

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