Top 10 African Cities with the highest Cost of Living

Arecent analysis of cost of living data by Numbeo, a renowned data and research platform, paints a concerning picture for major African cities. The report reveals the intense pressures countries across the continent face due to a surge in living expenses. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s central city, emerges as the most expensive city, followed by others like Harare, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.

This escalation in living costs stems from a confluence of global and local factors. Global market fluctuations and challenges in specific sectors have fueled price increases for essential goods and services. Countries like Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Ghana grapple with similar issues, burdening their populations more.

Food and utilities inflation is particularly problematic, with Ethiopia projecting a staggering 14% food inflation by the end of 2024 and 16% in 2025. Double-digit hikes in electricity costs further squeeze the profit margins of many companies. As the largest economy in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia’s competitiveness is threatened by these cost hurdles.

The rising cost of living also impacts human capital costs. Addis Ababa’s rental prices have skyrocketed by 30% in the past year, making housing unaffordable for many. Low local purchasing power and stagnant salaries, failing to keep pace with inflation, risk triggering a talent drain.

Despite impressive economic growth in some African cities, income inequality remains a persistent challenge. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, making it increasingly difficult for a significant portion of the population to cope with the rising cost of living.

African governments and policymakers must prioritize addressing the cost of living crisis. Implementing measures to stabilize global market fluctuations, diversifying local economies, and investing in essential infrastructure are crucial. Promoting income equality and social safety nets can cushion the blow for vulnerable populations.

The escalating cost of living in Africa significantly threatens the continent’s economic stability and social well-being. Concerted efforts at both local and global levels are needed to tackle this complex challenge and build a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa. EBR

12th Year • February 2024 • No. 126


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