The best African cities for expats

The best African cities for expats


Let’s have a look together at the 2022 Africa’s top cities for expats, in case you 're planning to set-up a new start in the Cradle of Humankind. Are you ready to start your new life in this incredible continent full of surprises and with great possibilities for the future ?

Travelling accross the world, or maybe just wondering what destination would suit your deep desire of expatriation, you may be starting to consider moving to an African country. Why not ?

Except the will for more exotism, beautiful landscapes, and culture blending, Africa offers also a very interesting view for the future, for business and people.

InterNations recently conducted a study call “Expat Insider 2021 - the world through expat eyes”, providing very interesting insights about expat’s views and feelings about their country. Amongst the 57 global cities listed, 4 African cities stood out from the ranking.

Their scores have been attributed following the 6 themes of the survey : quality of urban living, ease of settling in, urban work life, personal finance & housing, local cost of living, and happiness level.



The expert’s voice : Charles Pommarede, Africa Director of Cooptalis, “Why not Abidjan ?”

Abidjan is clearly one of the current hotspots in Africa. Due to its size and the dynamism of its economy, Côte d'Ivoire is one of the economic engines of the region. A financial center with continental ambitions, an increasing number of infrastructure projects and a pool of talent and skills are among the assets of the Ivorian economic capital. Cooptalis has been established there since 2020, with offices in the Cocody Danga district and a local team.


In addition to being dynamic from a business point of view, Abidjan is also a lively city, pleasant to live in and very festive. For future expats, the cost of living is relatively high.



Top cities for expats ranking

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi has been completely transformed over the past decade, resulting in a great place to live. Its transformation has included improvements in public transportation, city infrastructure and economic liberality. In addition, the city is one of the major political and financial centers in Africa. The city is surrounded by breathtaking scenery, making it ideal for those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

It is ranked as the top African city for expats, and 12th globally. In the report, the city does especially well in the Getting Settled Index : 78% of expats in Nairobi describe the local residents as generally friendly, and 62% find it easy to make new friends. Expats in Nairobi do agree that their social life is pretty rich and fulfilling (74%).

Nairobi also lands among the global top 10 in the Finance & Housing Index : 82% of expats have no trouble finding housing (which is also affordable for 49% of the respondents). On the Local Cost of Living Index, only 9% of expats in Nairobi and dissatisfied with their personal financial situation.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, the 10th largest city of Africa, is also known as the hub of Africa’s insurance and digital sectors. This colorful city is lined with breathtaking beaches and surrounded by vineyards that produce some of the best wine in the world. Cape Town is also gifted with the magnificent view from the mountains, including the so called Table Mountain.

Cape Town ranks 41st out of 57 in the Expat City Ranking 2021. 93% of respondents enjoy the climate and weather, and the city even places 3rd in the Leisure & Climate Subcategory: 81% are satisfied with the local leisure and entertainment options. Expats also find it easy to make new friends (53%) and to feel at home in the city (72%).

Cape Town also performs well in the Local Cost of Living (18th) and the Finance & Housing (13th) Indices: expats mainly say housing is easy to find (78%).

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo could be a real heaven for anyone interested in its millenial history. There are tons of Egyptian museums to wander through, and the Giza pyramids are just around the corner.

Cairo ranks 52nd out of 57 in the Expat City Ranking 2021. It performs quite well in Getting Settled Index (26th): 57% of respondents say finding friends in Cairo is easy, and 70% describe the locals as generally friendly. Ranking the city 19th in the Finance & Housing Index, expats say that housing in Cairo is both easy to find (67%) and to afford (52%).

The city gets its best results in the Local Cost of Living Index (7th): 63% of expats are quite satisfied with their personal expenses.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg – also known as Joburg or Egoli (city of gold), is South Africa's biggest city and Africa’s largest business centre and remains the centre of trade and logistics. The majority of South African and international businesses base their African headquarters in this colorful and thriving city. As one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, it offers a lot of career and investment opportunities.

Johannesburg provides a pretty good nightlife : the range of restaurants, bars and shopping malls is wide.

Johannesburg ranks 55th out of the 57 listed cities of the survey, but it does perform well in the Getting Settled (29th) and the Finance & Housing (24th) Indices : 52% of expats find housing affordable and 70% easy to find.