May 18, 2024

Top African Countries Offering the Best Quality of Life statistics

The top African countries with the best quality of life have a lot going for them, even if they’re not the most popular expat destinations. If moving to Europe or Asia isn’t your cup of tea, and you’d like to enjoy nature and diverse landscapes, these African countries might be worth considering.

In this guide to the top African countries with the best quality of life, we’ve put together a list of African nations ordered by their Human Development Index (HDI)  rating and have outlined the key things to keep in mind about them. Let’s dive in.

African Countries Offering the Best Quality of Life

TOP-15-AFRICAN-COUNTRIES-BY-QUALITY-OF-LIFE-KEY-STATISTICS

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Here’s an overview of the African countries that offer the best quality of life, ranging from landlocked African nations to islands in the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

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Our first five entries stretch across the African continent – and include two island nations sitting off Africa’s west coast.

15. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe life expectancy

Source: WHO

HDI score: 0.593

The Republic of Zimbabwe opens up our list with an HDI score of 0.593. It’s a country with a very low cost of living – Expatistan estimates that a basic lunch in the business district wouldn’t set you back more than $11. However, bear in mind that salaries in Zimbabwe aren’t very high either.

Zimbabwe has strong religious traditions, with a significant proportion of the country identifying as being Christian. Many expatriates are drawn to the religious and cultural aspects of living in Zimbabwe, as well as to ancestral connections.

Those moving there should, however, consider that it’s not the safest country in the sub-Saharan region due to instances of civil unrest and outbreaks of cholera and other diseases.

14. Namibia

Namibia life expectancy

Source: WHO

HDI score: 0.618

The south-west African country of Namibia is number fourteen on our list, with an HDI score of 0.618. Its average life expectancy is four years higher than Zimbabwe’s, according to WHO, and it’s generally considered one of the safer countries in the region.

That’s not to say that Namibia is completely safe, however. Many expats live in protected houses due to the risks of robbery.

Nevertheless, English and German are widely spoken, and the natural beauty of the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, and the continent’s largest canyon are big draws for tourists and expats. Namibia also offers reasonable living costs, although finding accommodation can be tricky.

13. Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe life expectancy at birth statistics

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.618

This African island nation is right above the Equator, making Sao Tome and Principe a great destination for tourists and expats seeking long seasons of sunshine. The country’s HDI score is on par with Namibia’s.

Visitors are usually tourists or people looking to get away and live a remote lifestyle, and some knowledge of Portuguese will go a long way in Sao Tome and Principe. It’s generally a safe country with very rare instances of violence, but its medical facilities and healthcare are quite limited, so bear that in mind. 

12. Ghana

ghana inflation

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.632

If you’ve been offered a job in Accra and are keen to enjoy Ghana’s multicultural society, be aware that bureaucracy around immigration can be confusing, and the number of migrants is limited by a quota.

With an HDI of 0.632, Ghana is considered a relatively safe African country, though it does have issues with healthcare and diseases like malaria.

The city of Accra is home to 2.6 million people, and it can get gridlocked. The large population means expats may find it challenging to find accommodation, but if they do, they’re unlikely to pay more than $1,000 in rent – and that’s if they’re living in an expensive area.

11. Cape Verde

Cape Verde

HDI score: 0.662

Cape Verde (or Cabo Verde) is another African island nation on our list, and it takes the eleventh spot. With its HDI score of 0.662, Cape Verde is popular with tourists and expats alike thanks to its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and mild climate, and many digital nomads are drawn to the country.

As with Sao Tome and Principe, Portuguese is the most common language spoken in Cape Verde. It’s a low-cost expat destination, especially if you’re working remotely for a large company – and rents will rarely go above $600.

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Gross-monthly-minimum-wage-in-top-African-countries-by-quality-of-life-2022

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Here are the top ten African countries by quality of life, going from the Mediterranean in the north to Africa’s southernmost point.

10. Morocco

morocco inflation

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.683

Opening for the top ten African countries with the best quality of life is the northern African nation of Morocco, with an HDI score of 0.683. The diverse landscapes of the country, its rich culture, and relatively low living costs draw in expatriates and tourists from around the world.

Many expats are working in the tourism industry, which is booming in Morocco. Because of this, some knowledge of French or Arabic wouldn’t go amiss in the country, as they are Morocco’s most commonly spoken languages.

Although Morocco is a Muslim country, the society accommodates many cultures and religions. It’s generally a very safe place, although it’s recently seen a major earthquake, and petty crime can occur in tourist areas.

9. Botswana

Botswana unemployment

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.693

The sparsely populated African country of Botswana enjoys an HDI rate of 0.693. It’s a very low-cost country where you can enjoy a business lunch for as little as $5. However, the low costs also come with lower salaries – Botswana has some of the lowest wages in the world.

So, if you do choose to move to Botswana – perhaps you’re drawn to its gorgeous nature, or it’s the land of your ancestors – be mindful of the fact that your earnings may take a dive.

Combined with the relatively high unemployment rate in the country, building a life in Botswana can be tricky if you don’t have a comfortable job. However, Botswana has a lower crime rate than some of its neighbors, and accommodation can be very affordable, especially if you’re on an expat package.

8. Gabon

Gabon: Inflation rate from 1988 to 2028

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.706

The former French colony Gabon is number eight on our list, with an HDI of 0.706. The country is known for its oil reserves, and the energy industry is the primary employer of expatriates.

Unlike many of its neighbors, inflation in Gabon hasn’t risen above 4.25% in the last five years. However, prices in Gabon are much higher than prices in many other African nations.

For instance, monthly rent can cost from $2,500 to $4,500, depending on the area you live in. For that reason, it’s advisable to secure a well-paid position before moving to Gabon – not least because its unemployment level is relatively high.

7. South Africa

South Africa: Life expectancy at birth from 2011 to 2021

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.713

The birthplace of Elon Musk is in the seventh spot on our list and has an HDI score of 0.713. South Africa offers both cosmopolitan vibes and stunning nature, enticing tourists and expats from around the world.

Despite its beauty, however, South Africa has some of the highest crime rates on the continent.

Expats may be able to enjoy a low-cost luxurious lifestyle if they’re earning in USD, but that style comes at the price of being constantly vigilant. The country’s OECD safety index is 2.5/10. However, if you take proper care, living in South Africa can be an unforgettable experience.

6. Libya

Libya: Life expectancy at birth from 2011 to 2021, by gender

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.718

Libya is another African country with large oil reserves. With an HDI score of 0.718, it’s slowly re-emerging from a period of civil unrest, but it’s far from the expat destination that it used to be. International sanctions have had a significant impact on Libyan society and have deeply changed the traditionally Muslim country.

Nevertheless, the thriving oil sector does attract foreign workers, many of whom live in compounds. Beyond these compounds, Libyan infrastructure is still limited, and driving can be dangerous. The cost of living in Libya can be very low, and especially so if you’re in an expat bubble subsidized by your employer. 

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We now come to the top five African countries with the best quality of life. Three of them are located in North Africa, while two others are island nations, which are also popular tourist destinations. Let’s learn more about them.

5. Tunisia

Tunisia unemployment

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.731

Our top five African countries by quality of life begin with Tunisia, which has an HDI score of 0.731. It has a relatively strong economy and is one of the few African countries where the average life expectancy exceeds 70 years

A big reason why Tunisia’s economy has been growing in recent years is the exploitation of the country’s oil reserves and the success of its manufacturing industry. Many expats work in those fields as senior managers and enjoy a high quality of life at a low cost.

For example, rent in Tunisia rarely goes over $475. Tourism is another growing sector of the Tunisian economy despite the country being at high risk of terrorist attacks. What’s more, female tourists who travel alone should be cautious, as street harassment is a common problem in Tunisia.

4. Egypt

Egypt quality of life

HDI score: 0.731

Egypt’s HDI score is on par with Tunisia’s at 0.731. Despite the significant impact of the Arab Spring on the country, it’s a popular destination for tourists and expats alike today.

It has a strong community of foreign workers, and there are many accommodation options, and more than many other African countries. These options won’t set you back too much, either – an apartment in an expensive area won’t be more than $600 in Egypt.

Expats should be mindful of Egypt’s traditionally patriarchal culture – as in Tunisia, street harassment can be a problem, especially for women used to Western cultures. However, the country’s rich history and relatively well-developed infrastructure attract many people from all walks of life.

3. Algeria

Algeria unemployment

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.745

The top three countries on our list begin with the African nation of Algeria. It has an HDI score of 0.745, and while it’s not a noted expat destination, the high degree of urbanization and an average life expectancy over 75 years are big factors in its favor when it comes to quality of life.

Expats who move to Algeria are usually in the oil and gas or finance sectors. Algeria is a very low-cost destination, although accommodation can be costlier than in neighboring countries. Most expats have a very good quality of life in Algeria, especially if they can speak either Arabic or French.

2. Seychelles

Seychelles quality of life

HDI score: 0.785

The silver medal winner for our list is the Republic of Seychelles. It’s an African nation comprised of 155 islands, with an HDI score of 0.785. Seychelles is a country with the highest nominal GDP per capita on the African continent.

A well-known tropical paradise, Seychelles is popular with tourists around the world. Expats, especially digital nomads, also love the republic – not least because individuals who earn their income from abroad don’t have to pay taxes in Seychelles. The country’s low taxes, beautiful climate, and nature are huge draws.

However, bear in mind that despite the lack of income tax, Seychelles isn’t a cheap country to live in. Renting in Seychelles can set you back as much as $ 1,000 to $1,500 – not as high as in Gabon, but still a significant amount.

If you’re looking to move to Seychelles, ensure you have sufficient income – either earned locally or from abroad. You might also be pleased to hear that Seychelles offers the highest minimum wage on the African continent at $465.

1. Mauritius

Mauritius economic sectors in GDP statistics

Source: Statista

HDI score: 0.802

And the winner in our rankings of the top African countries for quality of life is the tiny island nation of Mauritius. The island’s idyllic landscapes, pleasant climate, and diverse economic opportunities are big reasons for its high HDI score of 0.802, which is on par with Malaysia’s score.

Those choosing to move to Mauritius may also appreciate how safe it is and the economic options on offer. The lion’s share of the country’s economy is in the service sector, and most jobs are in the tourism and financial sectors.

If you’re a digital nomad in Mauritius, you can have a very good life, especially if you get paid in USD. Be mindful, however, that the average wages in 2022 were around $850 per month, and accommodation in Mauritius can cost around $800 to $1,200.

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