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5 African Countries with the Highest Quality of Life in 2024

29/04/20246 minute read
5 African Countries with the Highest Quality of Life

Every citizen wants to live a fulfilling life in their own country. It gives them a sense of stability and peace when they can fulfill their basic needs and reach their full potential in a relatively stable environment. According to Numbeo, a data and research powerhouse, having such a high quality of life considers factors such as purchasing power, safety, healthcare, cost of living, property price-to-income ratio, traffic commute time, pollution, and climate index.

However, this isn’t always the case. Many African cities face challenges like rapid urbanization, population growth, and insufficient infrastructure. Issues such as informal settlements, inadequate housing, and limited access to clean water and sanitation are prevalent in several urban areas. Sometimes, countries can have a high GDP per capita but are unable to provide a decent quality of life for their citizens.

A few African countries fall into this category. According to a report by the UN, only one African country had a Human Development Index score above the global average of 0.8 in 2023. These countries have mastered the art of giving their citizens a good quality of life. It doesn’t matter whether their economy is facing turmoil; their citizens have a decent standard of living.

A high quality of life for its citizens also fuels social stability and economic growth in these countries. It enhances a country’s reputation on the international stage, attracting skilled workers and foreign investment. Here are the African countries with the highest quality of life in 2024, according to Numbeo, a data and research powerhouse.

This chart illustrates the Quality of Life Index by Country in Africa for 2024

1. South Africa

With a score of 136.92, South Africa has the highest quality of life Index among the listed countries. This suggests a generally better standard of living in terms of factors like health, safety, economics, and access to necessities. South Africa has a developing healthcare system with advanced facilities in major cities. Its healthcare index is 4.03. However, access remains uneven, particularly in rural areas. The average life expectancy is 64.2 years.


Safety concerns also vary geographically, with a safety index of 4.66. Major cities like Johannesburg experience higher crime rates. Economically, South Africa is the most developed nation on the continent. Its GDP per capita in 2024 is $17.79 thousand. However, significant income inequality persists. Only 10% controls over 70% of the wealth.

2. Morocco

Morocco follows closely behind with a score of 104.73. Morocco presents a picture of a moderately high quality of life. Significant investment has been made in infrastructure development, leading to improved transportation networks and utilities. The healthcare index in Morocco is at a decent 5.12, although access to quality healthcare varies depending on location and socioeconomic status.

Public healthcare spending sits around 5.2% of GDP. The average life expectancy is 77.2 years. However, the quality can vary depending on location and socioeconomic status. Job creation and economic opportunities remain limited in some areas, with a youth unemployment rate exceeding 20%. Morocco also has a relatively high cost of living, with an index of 9.91.

3. Kenya

Kenya comes in at number three with a score of 103.54. Kenya offers a mix of strengths and weaknesses in terms of quality of life. Kenya’s economy is also on the rise, with a focus on agriculture, tourism, and technology. The country’s GDP per capita is $2,130. The country has stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity, attracting tourists that employ over 2 million people. The country has also made significant progress in education access, with a net primary enrollment rate exceeding 85%.

The country has a relatively affordable cost of living at a 4.81 index compared to other countries on this list. Housing is more affordable, with a property price-to-income ratio of 2.15  and a traffic commute time index of 1.26. However, poverty, corruption, and limited access to necessities in some areas remain uneven. For example, Nairobi’s quality of life and purchasing power index is significantly higher than other cities at 96.6, and 31.4%.


4. Egypt

With a score of 88.65, Egypt’s quality of life index is number four on the list. Over the years, the government has been investing in infrastructure projects, particularly in major cities like Cairo. This includes improvements to transportation networks, with a growing metro system in the capital.  Traffic congestion is a major issue in major cities like Cairo.

The traffic commute time index is 8.18. Interestingly, the country also has lower pollution levels than other countries on this list. Moreover, these infrastructures contribute to making Egypt’s cost of living relatively affordable at an index of 9.11. The average life expectancy is 71.2 years. However, access to quality healthcare and essential services varies depending on location. Rural areas often face significant challenges, with a lower average life expectancy of 68 years compared to the national average of 71.2 years.

5. Nigeria

With a score of 49.5, Nigeria is number five on this list. Nigerians are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and resilience. The country has a thriving informal economy and a growing number of startups, particularly in the tech sector. Last year, the sector received a total investment of about $2.1 billion. Also, as of 2023,  the informal sector employment stood at 92.3%. However, limited infrastructure development creates difficulties in transportation and power supply areas. For example, only 56% of its population has access to national electricity.

Housing affordability is a major challenge in most places, with the property price-to-income ratio being 21.16. Traffic congestion is also an issue in major cities, including Lagos, which has a commute time index of 3.38. With a healthcare index of 0.87, access to quality healthcare is also severely limited in rural areas. The average life expectancy in Nigeria is 55.7 years. Nigeria’s cost of living index is 9.32, with an average purchasing power of 9.43.

The Bottom Line

In assessing the quality of life across African countries, it becomes evident that certain countries have made significant strides in providing their citizens with fulfilling and stable living conditions. Despite facing various challenges, such as rapid urbanization and insufficient infrastructure, these nations have prioritized factors like healthcare, safety, and economic opportunities, contributing to a commendable quality of life for their citizens.


South Africa emerges as a leader in this regard, boasting the highest quality of life index among the listed countries. Its developing healthcare system and relatively advanced facilities underscore its commitment to the well-being of its populace despite persistent challenges such as income inequality.

Morocco follows closely, with notable infrastructure development and efforts to enhance healthcare access, although there are some disparities across regions and socioeconomic strata. Kenya’s dynamic economy and progress in education and affordability contribute to its position on the list despite prolonged issues of poverty and corruption.

Egypt, too, demonstrates progress in infrastructure investment, particularly in urban centers like Cairo, although disparities in access to essential services persist. With its entrepreneurial spirit and rapid growth in the tech sector, Nigeria struggles with infrastructure and healthcare access challenges, highlighting the need for continued investment and development efforts.

While the gaps exist, these countries’ efforts to prioritize the well-being of their citizens are commendable. By addressing challenges head-on and fostering environments conducive to growth and opportunity, these countries pave the way for enhanced social stability, economic prosperity, and an improved quality of life for all.

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