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ANALYSIS: Not all are happy with this city ranking

A section of Kampala’s CBD . Uganda’s capital city lacks key infrastructure that would make it one of the best livable cities in Africa. INDEPENDENT /JIMMY SIYA

First ever survey that focuses on life in African cities for ordinary people ranks Kampala 51st best city to live

A study commissioned by Afrique Mediterranee Business, a French publication, that recently ranked African cities has rattled some that believe they were wrongly rated.

The study done by Swiss research institute, Communaute d’Etudes pour l’amenagement du Territoire at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)   included all the 54 capital cities and 46 other large urban centres on the continent.

The ranking analyzed the living conditions and welfare of the residents in the cities based on seven indicators—housing, spatial development, society, infrastructure, environment, governance and the economy. A city’s indicator is considered best when it scores 100%.

The top ten African cities, according to the study are; Marrakesh which tops the list, followed by Johannesburg, Alexandria, Port Louis— the Mauritian capital, Casablanca, Tunis, Cairo, Rabat, Cape Town and Fez. Morocco has four cities in the top 10, followed by South Africa and Egypt with two each.

The lead researcher for the study, Jeromé Chenal, a Swiss architect and urban planner who has in the past worked on major urban projects in Morocco, Mauritania and Cameroon told Afrique Mediterranee Business that Moroccan cities are not huge (but) real work has been done to improve infrastructure, people’s quality of life, and housing in a stable political context.

Algiers, Praia (Cape Verde), Pretoria, Windhoek, Kumasi, Oran (Algeria), Durban, Gaborone, Harare and Libreville occupy positions 11 to 20th.

Positions 21 to 30 are occupied by Benin City (Nigeria), Buffalo City (South Africa), Dakar, Mbabane (Swaziland), Accra, Douala (Cameroon), Nairobi, Lusaka, Port Harcourt (Nigeria) and Yaoundé, respectively.

Nairobi is the best ranked city in East Africa at number 27. Kampala’s is in the company of cities like Ivory Coast’s administrative capital, Yamoussoukro (52), Cotonou, Benin’s capital (53), Rwanda’s capital, Kigali (54), Khartoum (55), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital (56), Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital (59) and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second biggest city (60).

 Marrakesh best city to live

Marrakesh is ranked number one in Africa with an overall score of 75%.  The Moroccan city scored 77% in the category of society, housing (82%), spatial development (62%), infrastructure (82%), environment and ecology (69%), governance (77%) and economy (82%).

On the other hand, Nairobi, East Africa’s biggest and most influential city which is ranked 27th with an overall score of 54.75% scored 39% in society, 45% in housing, spatial development (61%), infrastructure (59%), environment (57%), governance (51%) and economy (59%).

Some cities have comparative advantages over one another when it comes to particular indicators. When it comes to society, for example, the city of Tunis is the best with a score of 90%; Rabat is on top of housing with 83%, while Alexandria takes the best spot (79%) for spatial development. 

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