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Nairobi best city to live in Africa, expats say

By Betty Njeru | December 2nd 2021

An overlook of Victoria Towers in Upperhill, Nairobi. [Emmanuel Mochoge, Standard]

Nairobi has been ranked the best city to live and work in Africa, and 12th globally by expatriates.

Kenya’s capital follows global cities like Kuala Lumpur, Malaga, Dubai, Singapore, Pragua, Mexico City, and Madrid.

An Expat City Ranking 2021 report placed Nairobi at fourth position in Africa on merit of foreigners getting settled.

The respondents (expats) ranked the cities on quality of urban living, getting settled, finance and housing, urban work life, and local cost of living.

Four in five expats described local residents in Nairobi as friendly, while 62 per cent said they find making new friends easy in the city.

“The people are welcoming and friendly,” an Indian expat told InterNations, adding that he enjoys his “good social life.”

Eighty-two (82) per cent said they have no trouble finding good housing in Nairobi, compared to 60 per cent globally.

While one in five expats globally are dissatisfied with their financial situation, this is only the case for 9 per cent of expats in Nairobi.

However, the city performs poorly on the quality of urban life, coming in at position 50 out of 57 cities sampled.

“The availability and quality of medical care are particular lowlights. Fifty-five (55) per cent of the respondents are unhappy with the public transportation system (vs. 20 per cent globally),” the report showed.

Johannesburg was ranked Africa’s worst city to live in, at 55 of 57 cities surveyed globally.

“The city also ends up in the bottom 10 of the Urban Work Life Index.  Forty-one (41) per cent are dissatisfied with the local career opportunities.”

“The amount of time it took to find a job has been stressful, overwhelming, and frightening,” an expat shared.

Sixty-eight (68) per cent also said they do not feel safe in Johannesburg, compared to a global average of 8 per cent. “Its results for personal safety are particularly staggering,” the report noted.

Cape Town in South Africa, and Cairo in Egypt were ranked positions 41 and 52 respectively.

No African country was ranked among the top 10 in the best destinations for expats. 

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