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Here are the cheapest major African cities in 2023

Given the implication of the cost of living, it is the number one factor most working-class individuals consider when making major personal and financial decisions. How cheap or expensive a city is determines the caliber of people it attracts. This is why most people sought after a city that borders between affordable and economically energetic, including African cities.

Here are the cheapest major African cities in 2023 - Lusaka:capital of Zambia
  • Business Insider Africa presents the list of the cheapest major African cities in 2023 
  • This list is courtesy of a report from the EIU, the research arm of the Economist Group.
  • On average, the cost of living globally has risen by 7.4% year on year in local currency.

Understanding the implications of the cost of living is crucial for individuals, businesses, and policymakers in making informed decisions about financial planning, economic development, and social welfare.

To put it plainly, the cost of living is the level of finances needed to afford the things that are necessary to sustain one’s well-being. These things at their most basic level include housing, food, utilities, transportation, and healthcare, amongst other things.

However, considering the economic reality of the globe, having just braved a global pandemic and having to deal with conflicts across numerous regions, the cost of living in most regions has been on a freefall.

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The EIU, the Economist Group’s research and analysis division, recently released a report detailing the overall cost of living for major cities across the world.

The report titled Worldwide Cost of Living 2023, conducted between August 14th and September 11th, 2023, found that “on average, prices had risen by 7.4% year on year in local currency terms for over 200 commonly used goods and services. This is slightly below the 8.1% increase reported in last year’s survey, but significantly higher than the trend in 2017 to 2021.”

The EIU’s report for 2023 covered 173 major cities. According to the report, “a slight weakening of the US dollar against some currencies is responsible for some of the movements in this year’s survey. Rankings can also be driven by other factors, such as consumer demand as well as competition and the availability of goods, whether imported or locally produced.”

The EIU’s report contains ten of the most expensive cities in the world to live in and ten of the cheapest, and while no African cities appear on the most expensive list, quite a few appear on the cheapest rankings. The cities are ranked on an average of New York’s cost of living index, which equals to 100.

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Rank City Country Index Global Rank
1. Lagos Nigeria 35 165th
2. Lusaka Zambia 33 167th
3. Tunis Tunisia 32 168th
4. Tripoli Libya 23 171st

The Worldwide Cost of Living study is done twice a year by EIU and analyzes over 400 unique prices across more than 200 items and services in 173 locations. These 173 locations are considered some of the biggest and economically active cities in the world and as such the rankings are not representative of every single city in the world but every major city.

Data for the study, which has been performed for over 30 years, are collected by EIU's global team of researchers each March and September. The report contains a more comprehensive breakdown of the methodology.

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