The vast continent of Africa is a diverse place, with the sprawling sands of the Sahara desert in the north, miles of coastline in countries like Tanzania and Mozambique, dense jungle and some of the world’s most rapidly expanding megacities dotted around.
Some of Africa’s cities are becoming increasingly popular for investors, with international businesses opening regional headquarters.
But which of Africa’s cities are the richest? Whether you’re interested in investing yourself, are looking for information on the most expensive African cities to live in or are just interested, we’ve summarised some of them in this post.
South Africa usually comes out near the top for the richest countries in Africa, thanks to its gold wealth. The largest city in the country, Johannesburg is also known as “The City of Gold”. It was founded in 1886 during the Witwatersrand Gold Rush.
Johannesburg is a city of contrasts, but the area of Sandton is exceptionally wealthy. It is where the JSE is based, which is the largest stock market in Africa. There are also lots of affluent banks and financial services within the city.
There’s no denying that Egypt had one of the world’s richest ancient cultures. But this wealth is seen today, as Egypt is the richest country in Africa in 2021. This wealth is concentrated in some areas of the capital city, which is also one of the biggest cities in Africa.
Egypt is a popular tourist country, with visitors heading to the Mediterranean and Red Seas for beaches and diving and Giza for the pyramids (and of course, many destinations in between!). Tourism is 12% of Egypt’s GDP (source). Therefore, many tourist businesses have their headquarters in Cairo.
There are also lots of retail and telecoms businesses in the city!
The capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is one of the quickest-growing cities in the world. There are a few extremely wealthy neighbourhoods in this city, with business headquarters from various industries, including finance, food and beverages, tourism, fashion, and real estate.
You can get a sense of Nairobi’s wealth by walking around Lavington or Karen. You’ll find high-end malls with luxurious shops, five-star hotels and even deluxe casinos. In Nairobi, casinos are seen as a hobby of the wealthy. Lots of locals, tourists and ex-pats learn how to play roulette and other games in these high-end establishments.
Lagos is another city that is rapidly expanding. It is the largest city of Nigeria and the most populous city in Africa and is a business hub for the western part of the continent. Many of the city’s businesses are finance-based, but Nigeria also has a lot of wealth in the petroleum industry, which has risen with global petrol prices.
Its two most affluent areas are Ikoyi and Victoria Island, but you’ll see pockets of wealth all over the city. Many people who have experienced Lagos have noted the city’s ‘get-rich’ spirit. It has an atmosphere that people can ‘make it’ here, and therefore lots of businesses have set up their headquarters in the city. In this way, it bears a lot of similarities to New York.
Morocco’s Casablanca is one of the wealthiest cities in North Africa, with $42 billion in wealth. This is impressive when you consider that there are only four million inhabitants of the city! Many of the richest people in Morocco live in this city.
There are quite a few business headquarters in the city, including manufacturing and financial services.
Casablanca is also commonly thought of as a luxury tourist destination. It’s by the beach, and there are lots of resorts to enjoy here. Lots of wealthy Moroccans from other cities spend their holidays here. This has made the price of living rise quite significantly.
Luanda is the capital of Angola and is thought of as a relatively expensive city to live in. In fact, it did have a time when it was the most expensive city in the world, due to a lot of oil wealth in the country. However, this didn’t always translate into wealth for everybody, with stark wealth inequality within the country.
It still remains one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, with plenty of industries and job opportunities.
Dar Es Salaam
The capital of Tanzania, Dar Es Salaam, is another city of contrasts but certainly has some very affluent areas. For example, the areas of Masaki and Oyster Bay are very upmarket. The city also has an active stock exchange.
Most of Tanzania’s industries are agricultural, but there is a growing tourism industry, of which many offices are headquartered in Dar Es Salaam.
These African cities have some of the highest GDP and are set to grow even more in the next few years. So they are fantastic places to open up offices or invest in the stock market!