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12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life

In this article, we will look into the 12 African countries with the best quality of life. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to the 5 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life.

Quality of Life in Africa

According to the African Development Bank, the quality of life in Africa improved substantially over the past few decades leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. The standard of education, healthcare, and other fundamental services has witnessed a significant improvement over the recent years. The economic growth has also benefitted government practices and has enhanced employment and livelihoods. These advancements have collectively improved the quality of life in the region, resulting in a decline in the percentage of the African population living in poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Africa's public finances, leading to an increase in fiscal deficit of 4.6% in 2019 to 8.4% in 2020. This hindered the improvements in the overall quality of life in Africa. Although the social and economic consequences of the pandemic have been momentous, Africa's resilience and collaborative strategy against the virus effectively protected lives against COVID in the region.

The African Development Bank has been making efforts to improve the overall living standard in Africa. The bank promotes human development in the region by supporting education, entrepreneurship, health services, water and sanitation access, and gender equality. For instance, in 2020 the bank continued its efforts for skill development entrepreneurship in Africa and trained 118,000 people in 2020.

In 2020, The bank partnered with 10 development finance institutions, to assess the impact of its investments via the Joint Impact Model (JIM). The model quantifies the job creation encompassing direct jobs, induced jobs, jobs in the supply chain, and jobs assembled by the operations' enabling effects. The model estimated that around 0.8 million direct jobs and 2.1 million jobs in the supply chain, induced jobs, and enabling effect jobs will be created with the help of 121 public and private sector operations, approved by the African Development Bank. Out of the total 3 million jobs, women will account for 1.3 million jobs. These jobs will collectively contribute $17.2 billion to the African economy.

African Development Bank is also making efforts for the provision of clean and safe water in the region. For instance, the One WASH National Program, in Ethiopia. It was implemented in 382 districts and 144 small and medium-sized towns, in collaboration with the Ethiopian government. The investment resulted in an increase of 50% to 97% in the percentage of the population with access to safe water, during the program. The program provided access to improved water and sanitation services to 8.3 million people in 2020, exceeding the target of 3.6 million.

An Outlook of the African Economy

Africa holds great economic potential due to its abundant natural resources, rapidly growing population, and an expanding middle class. However, for a better quality of life, Africa must make continuous efforts to improve its government capabilities, strategic investments in education, business innovation, and inclusive and sustainable initiatives. According to the IMF, Africa reports a GDP of $2.86 trillion and a GDP growth of 3.2% as of 2023. The GDP per capita in the region is $2,040. Africa has experienced slow growth over the recent years but it is expected to grow at a relatively higher pace in 2024.

Major Players in the African Market

Some of the major players in the African market are MTN Group Limited (OTC:MTNOY), Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL), and Vodacom Group Limited (OTC:VDMCY).

MTN Group Limited (OTC:MTNOY) is an African multinational mobile telecommunications company. On October 11, the company's subsidiary in Rwanda showcased the nation's first-ever 5G network technology at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Africa. The demonstration of the 5G technology by MTN Group Limited (OTC:MTNOY) highlighted its commitment to technology and innovation. The new 5G technology will be providing Rwandans with advanced and reliable connectivity solutions. The technology is capable of revolutionizing sectors including agriculture, education, and healthcare. The technology will also improve the overall internet usage experience, fuel the economic growth in the region, and drive the digital inclusion agenda in the region.

Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) is a leading integrated energy and chemical company in Africa. On October 23, the American subsidiary of the company introduced two biobased surfactants,  CARINEX and LIVINEX, to expand the sustainable offerings of the company. These products will offer a significant reduction in carbon footprint as compared to conventional surfactants.

On October 16, Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL) announced its collaboration with major companies Anglo American plc (OTC:NGLOY) and Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (OTC:BMWYY) South Africa. The partnership will bring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) along with the supporting hydrogen refueling technology to South Africa. This partnership will pave the way for the country's adoption of FCEVs, aligned with the green hydrogen economy strategy of South Africa. 

Vodacom Group Limited (OTC:VDMCY) is a leading mobile communication company in Africa. On October 6, the company announced its partnership with Cisco Meraki. Both companies will be introducing a cost-effective digital solution bringing software-defined wide area network, SD-WAN Express to SMEs. The SD-WAN Express is developed to fulfill the networking needs of SMEs including addressing their IT challenges and ensuring high-quality and reliable connectivity. SMEs in Africa play a vital role in the economy, holding a significant share of GDP and employment. Vodacom Group Limited (OTC:VDMCY) will be supporting SMEs to utilize technology in their operation effectively and contribute to economic growth.

Now, that we have talked about the quality of life in Africa and discussed the major players in the African economy, let's have a look at the 12 African countries with the best quality of life.

12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life
12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life

12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life

Methodology In order to rank the 12 African countries with the best quality of life, we considered three metrics: Human Development Index (HDI), Economic Freedom Index (EFI), and Government Effectiveness rating. HDI is an index that measures the life expectancy, education, and standard of living of a country. We obtained the most recent data available for HDI from UNDP. Our second metric is EFI by the Heritage Foundation. EFI is an annual rating that measures the degree of economic freedom in a country, utilizing a total of 10 indicators. Our final metric is the Government Effectiveness rating, which we obtained from the World Bank's World Governance Indicator Database. The Government Effectiveness rating measures the quality of public services, the degree to which the government can deliver on its promises, and the quality of its bureaucracy. To identify the African countries with the best quality, we first shortlisted the top 30 countries based on their HDI as of 2021. We prioritized HDI as our initial screening metric because it provides us with insight into human development, taking into account the overall life and amenities available to the residents of a country, and is directly related to the quality of life. Then, we utilized our other two metrics to narrow down our list further. We assigned equal weights to both our indicators and calculated a final score out of 100. Finally, we refined our list of the top 12 countries based on their final scores and ranked them in ascending order of their calculated scores.

12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life

12. Egypt

Human Development Index (2021): 0.731

Government Effectiveness (2022): 33.96

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 49.60

Insider Monkey Rating: 41.78 out of 100

Egypt is ranked among the African countries with the best quality of life. As of 2021, Egypt reported an HDI of 0.731. According to the World Bank, Egypt reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 33.96%. The Economic Freedom Index rating of the county is 49.6 as of 2023.

MTN Group Limited (OTC:MTNOY), Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL), and Vodacom Group Limited (OTC:VDMCY) are some of the major stocks in the African market.

11. Togo

Human Development Index (2021): 0.539

Government Effectiveness (2022): 28.30

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 55.30

Insider Monkey Rating: 41.80 out of 100

Togo is a country in West Africa, located on the Gulf of Guinea. As of 2021, Togo reported an HDI of 0.539. According to the World Bank, Togo reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 28.30%. The Economic Freedom Index rating of the county is 55.30 as of 2023.

10. Kenya

Human Development Index (2021): 0.575

Government Effectiveness (2022): 41.04

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 52.50

Insider Monkey Rating: 46.76 out of 100

Kenya reports an Economic Freedom Index of 52.5 as of 2023. It is ranked 10th on our list with an HDI of 0.575 as of 2021. According to the World Bank, Kenya reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 41.04%.

9. Tanzania

Human Development Index (2021): 0.549

Government Effectiveness (2022): 34.43

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 60.00

Insider Monkey Rating: 47.21 out of 100

Tanzania is a densely forested country located in East Africa. As of 2021, Tanzania reported an HDI of 0.549. According to the World Bank, Egypt reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 34.43%. The Economic Freedom Index rating of the county is 60 as of 2023.

8. Côte d'Ivoire

Human Development Index (2021): 0.550

Government Effectiveness (2022): 37.74

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 60.40

Insider Monkey Rating: 49.07 out of 100

Côte d'Ivoire is a country in East Africa. As of 2021, Côte d'Ivoire reported an HDI of 0.550. According to the World Bank, Côte d'Ivoire reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 37.74% in 2022. The Economic Freedom Index rating of the county is 60.4 as of 2023.

7. South Africa

Human Development Index (2021): 0.713

Government Effectiveness (2022): 48.11

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 55.70

Insider Monkey Rating: 51.90 out of 100

South Africa reports an Economic Freedom Index of 55.7 as of 2023. It is ranked 7th on our list with an HDI of 0.713, as of 2021. According to the World Bank, South Africa reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 48.11%.

6. Ghana

Human Development Index (2021): 0.632

Government Effectiveness (2022): 50.47

Economic Freedom Index (2023): 58.00

Insider Monkey Rating: 54.23 out of 100

Ghana is ranked 6th on our list of the African countries with the best quality of life. As of 2021, Ghana reported an HDI of 0.632. According to the World Bank, Egypt reported a Government Effectiveness rating of 50.47% in 2022. The Economic Freedom Index rating of the county is 58 as of 2023.

Investors looking to increase their exposure to the African market can research stocks including MTN Group Limited (OTC:MTNOY), Sasol Limited (NYSE:SSL), and Vodacom Group Limited (OTC:VDMCY).

Click to continue reading and see the 5 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life.

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Disclosure: None. 12 African Countries with the Best Quality of Life is originally published on Insider Monkey.