African Towns Make it to World’s Top 100 Cities Ranking

By Irene Gaitirira
Published March 16, 2017

Guinea Conakry's capital, Conakry, appear in the four lowest-ranked cities on infrastructure.Five African cities have made it to the top 100 ranking of places said to have the highest quality of living in the world.

Port Louis in Mauritius, in position 84, tops the Africa chart, followed by South Africa’s Durban (87th), Cape Town (94th) and Johannesburg (96th) in the 19th annual Quality of Living survey conducted by Mercer, a global consulting firm in talent, health, retirement and investment.

On overall quality of living within Africa, Brazzaville (224th) in Congo-Brazaville, N’Djamena (226th) in Chad, Khartoum (227th) in Sudan and Bangui (230th) in Central African Republic appear in the four lowest-ranked cities.

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For infrastructure, Port Louis is the only African city which falls within the top 100 rankings in the 94th place. Cape Town is ranked at 101st position followed by Tunis (104th) in Tunisia and Victoria (109th) in Seychelles concluding the top 4 Africa cities.

Central African Republic's capital, Bangui, appear in the four lowest-ranked cities on overall quality of living.Lack of infrastructure remains a challenge within Africa, with N’Djamena (224th), Bangui (226th), Conakry (227th) in Guinea Republic and Congo-Brazaville’s Brazzaville (228th) forming the lowest rankings.

“Economic instability, social unrest, and growing political upheaval all add to the complex challenge multinational companies face when analysing quality of living for their expatriate workforce,” says Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Career Business. “For multinationals and governments it is vital to have quality of living information that is accurate, detailed, and reliable. It not only enables these employers to compensate employees appropriately, but it also provides a planning benchmark and insights into the often-sensitive operational environment that surrounds their workforce.”

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Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4th), Dusseldorf (6th), Frankfurt (7th), Geneva (8th), Copenhagen (9th), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place. The only non-European cities in the top ten are Australia’s Auckland (3rd) and Canada’s Vancouver (5th). The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25th) and Uruguay’s Montevideo (79th), respectively.

Port Louis in Mauritius is ranked as having the highest quality of living in Africa in 2017.Mercer’s survey also includes a city infrastructure ranking that assesses each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports. Singapore tops the city infrastructure ranking, followed by Germany’s Frankfurt and Munich both in 2nd place. Iraq’s Baghdad (230th) and Haiti’s Port au Prince (231) rank last for city infrastructure.

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Mercer’s survey is reported to be one of the world’s most comprehensive and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. In addition to valuable data, Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for more than 450 cities throughout the world; the ranking for 2017 includes 231 of these cities.

“The success of foreign assignments is influenced by issues such as ease of travel and communication, sanitation standards, personal safety, and access to public services,” says Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer and responsible for its quality of living research. “Multinational companies need accurate and timely information to help calculate fair and consistent expatriate compensation – a real challenge in locations with a compromised quality of living.”

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Cape Town, South Africa's mother city, is ranked as having the third best highest quality of living in Africa and 94th in the world.Parakatil says that “A city’s infrastructure can considerably affect the quality of living that expatriates and their families experience on a daily basis. Access to a variety of transport options, being connected locally and internationally, and access to electricity and drinkable water are among the essential needs of expatriates arriving in a new location on assignment. A well-developed infrastructure can also be a key competitive advantage for cities and municipalities trying to attract multinational companies, talent, and foreign investments.”