African countries have unique challenges when it comes to the cost of living. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to factors like economic policies, inflation, and the cost of essential goods and services. These are the main culprits that determine how much it costs to live in an African country. If the economy is doing well, demand for goods and services will go up, which usually means a higher cost of living. And over time, inflation will drive up the prices of everything, making it even more expensive to live there. Unfortunately, the high cost of living can hit hard for those with fixed or low incomes, making it tough to make ends meet, let alone afford basic necessities or save for the future. This can also make it hard to access crucial services like healthcare and education.
On the flip side, a low cost of living is crucial for any country’s economic stability. It affects the standard of living, purchasing power, and investment opportunities. Keeping costs low can help fuel economic growth, with increased demand leading to more production, employment opportunities, and a thriving economy. It can also make it easier for businesses to operate in the country by reducing their operational costs. Numbeo, a data and research platform, determines the overall cost of living index of a country by considering factors like the rent index, grocery index, restaurant index, and cost of living plus rent index, coupled with an estimation of consumer goods prices, including rent and local purchasing power. With this data, let’s explore the African countries with the highest and lowest cost of living.
African countries with the highest cost of living
Senegal has the highest cost of living in Africa. The cost of living index is 46.4 and the local purchasing power is 21.7. A family of four estimated monthly cost is $2,451 without rent. In 2022, Dakar, the capital and largest city in Senegal, ranked as the most expensive city to live in Africa. considering consumer goods prices. According to the IMF, Senegal saw an inflation average of 9.7 percent last year, the highest rate in several decades. However, the body has also projected the country’s economic activity to rebound in 2023, and inflation to moderate.
Ivory Coast is one of the fastest-growing economies in the western region of Africa, with a rapidly expanding middle class. The country is ranked as the 19th most expensive country in Africa, with its cost of living index being 42.7 and the local purchasing power being 7.8. In the capital city, Abidjan, the cost of living is generally higher than in other parts of the country. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Ivory Coast is generally highest in Abidjan, which is the largest city and economic capital of the country. However, cities like Bouake, Daloa, and San Pedro are relatively affordable compared to Abidjan.
Located in the Horn of Africa, with a population of over 110 million people, the cost of living in Ethiopia is relatively high with an overall index of 42.3 and local purchasing power of 11.6. food prices in Ethiopia are relatively high. This is due to a number of reasons such as limited agricultural land, poor infrastructure, and inadequate access to markets. As a result, the cost of food products such as grains, fruits, and vegetables is higher than in other countries. Housing is another significant expense in Ethiopia. The demand for housing in Ethiopia’s urban areas often outstrips supply, leading to high rent prices.
With a population of around 1.3 million people, the cost of living in Mauritius varies depending on the city and region, with the capital city, Port Louis, being the most expensive. The cost of living index in Mauritius is 42.2 and the local purchasing power is 30.8. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is around $360 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment in the same area can cost around $914 per month. The cost of groceries in Mauritius is also relatively high, with an index score of 56.37. A loaf of bread costs around $0.53, while a litre of milk costs around $1.13. Although the cost of living in Mauritius can be relatively high compared to other African countries, the island nation also offers a high quality of life. For example, the country has a well-developed healthcare infrastructure, with modern hospitals and clinics that provide quality medical care. According to the World Health Organization, Mauritius has one of the best healthcare systems in Africa, with a high life expectancy at birth of 71 years (male) and 78 years (female).
Zimbabwe currently holds the position as the African country with the highest interest rates. At 150%, it is the world’s most expensive country to borrow money in. For the entire second half of 2022, the country held on to a 200% interest rate. In the last few years, the country’s inflation has been on a downtrend. According to Numbeo, the cost of living index in Zimbabwe is 40.8 and the local purchasing power is 18.7. It is important to note that the country has been facing economic challenges in recent years, including high inflation rates and currency instability.
African countries with the lowest cost of living
Egypt is ranked as the 78th country in the world and is generally lower than many other countries, especially in terms of housing and transportation. The cost of living index in Egypt is 21.6 and the local purchasing power 21.9. According to the Numbeo, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Cairo is around $220. The cost of groceries and food is also relatively low, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $5-$6.
While Libya has the potential to be a relatively affordable country due to its natural resources and small population, the ongoing political and economic instability has made prices fluctuate significantly. The cost of living index in Libya is 24.2 and the local purchasing power is 32.1. Libya is ranked the 167th country in the world. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Tripoli is around $607. However, the cost of living in Libya is heavily influenced by the ongoing political and economic instability, which can make prices unpredictable and fluctuate significantly over time.
According to Numbeo, Tunisia is a relatively cheap place to live in, with the cost of living index being 26.5, and the local purchasing power at 30.0. Tunisia is ranked as the 92nd country in the world, with prices for goods and services falling in the middle range compared to other countries. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Tunis is around $259. The cost of groceries and food is also moderate, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $9. A one-way ticket on public transportation costs about $0.21.
The cost of living index in Ghana is 26.7 and the local purchasing power 17.2. Ghana is ranked as the 101st country in the world in terms of cost of living. The report indicates that the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Accra is about $292. The cost of groceries and food is also relatively low, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $10. A one-way ticket on public transportation costs around $0.34. While taxis and ride-sharing services average around $2.53. While the cost of living is generally lower in Ghana compared to many other countries, salaries, and wages can also be lower, making it important for individuals to budget and plan accordingly.
Algeria is ranked as the 81st country in the world in terms of cost of living. The cost of living index is 27.6 and the local purchasing power is 26.9. the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Algiers is around $270. The cost of groceries and food is also moderate, with a meal at a mid-range restaurant costing around $11 and a domestic beer costing around $1.50. Transportation costs are also moderate, with a one-way ticket on public transportation costing around $0.37. Taxis and ride-sharing services average around $0.60 for a short trip. However, the country’s economy has faced some challenges in recent years, which may impact the availability and affordability of certain goods and services.