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Lagos ranks 2nd in cheapest cities to live in Africa [See full list]

Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, and its commercial hub, Lagos, have been ranked as the first and second cheapest cities for expatriates to live in for 2024, according to Mercer’s Cost of Living rankings.

The report highlights that the cost of living is a crucial consideration for expatriates when selecting a city for relocation, as it impacts their quality of life and financial stability.

The findings attribute the affordability of these cities to currency depreciations, which have significantly reduced the cost of living for international assignees.

At the lower end of the cost spectrum, cities like Islamabad, Lagos, and Abuja are among the least expensive for expats. 

This ranking provides insight into economic trends, assisting individuals and organizations in making informed decisions regarding global mobility.

Among African cities, Bangui has notably risen 12 places to rank 14th globally. Djibouti and N’Djamena follow closely, ranking 18th and 21st, respectively. 

In the opposite, Blantyre, Lagos, and Abuja are among the least expensive African cities, positioned at 221st, 225th, and 226th globally.

Top 10 cheapest cities to live in Africa with their global rank.

10. Johannesburg, South Africa

Global rank for cost of living: 206

Johannesburg offers abundant economic opportunities paired with a relatively low cost of living, especially in housing and basic services, making it a preferred destination for expats in South Africa. The city’s rank slightly decreased from 205 in 2023 to 206 in 2024.

9. Cape Town, South Africa

Global rank for cost of living: 209

Despite being a popular tourist hub, Cape Town maintains reasonable living costs for expats, particularly in housing and utilities. The city’s rank improved from 208 in 2023 to 209 in 2024.

8. Tunis, Tunisia

Global rank for cost of living: 210

Tunis combines cultural richness with affordability, offering low costs for housing, food, and transportation. The city advanced nine places to rank 210th in 2024.

7. Lusaka, Zambia

Global rank for cost of living: 213

Lusaka is renowned for its low living costs, particularly in housing and transportation, making it an attractive option for expats seeking affordability. The city dropped 16 places to rank 213th in 2024.

6. Gaborone, Botswana

Global rank for cost of living: 215

Gaborone offers a cost-effective living environment with affordable housing and lower daily essentials costs. The city improved its rank by one place since 2023.

5. Windhoek, Namibia

Global rank for cost of living: 218

Windhoek is attractive to cost-conscious expats due to moderate housing costs and relatively low prices for goods and services. The city climbed four places from its previous ranking.

4. Durban, South Africa

Global rank for cost of living: 219

Durban boasts a lower cost of living compared to other major South African cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town, especially in housing and groceries. The city’s rank improved from 220 in 2023 to 219 in 2024.

3. Blantyre, Malawi

Global rank for cost of living: 221

Blantyre is notable for its low cost of living, particularly in housing and everyday expenses, making it a practical choice for budget-conscious expats. The city dropped 23 places in the rankings, positioning it among the cheapest cities for expats.

2. Lagos, Nigeria

Global rank for cost of living: 225

In comparison to other cities in Africa, Lagos is the second cheapest city to live in for expats due to the lower costs of basic goods and services, influenced by currency depreciation. The city experienced a significant drop of 178 places.

1. Abuja, Nigeria

Global rank for cost of living: 226

Abuja’s cost of living has become more affordable due to lower cost increases in housing and utilities compared to other major cities, despite dropping 86 places in the rankings due to currency depreciation. 

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