Marrakech, Arab cities top Africa list in quality of life
While results are encouraging for Africa’s Maghreb, region faces serious concerns, intensified by Libya's conflict.
2017/02/26 Issue: 95 Page: 1
The Arab Weekly
Tunis - Arab cities in the Maghreb were ranked among the best places to live in Africa in a new survey conducted by Swiss technology institute Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
The survey, which gauged quality of life in Africa’s top urban centres, looked at factors such as social and living conditions, development, the economy and governance.
Marrakech, a former imperial city in Morocco, came out on top, with three other Moroccan cities — Casablanca, Rabat and Fez — making the top ten.
Egyptian cities also ranked highly, with Alexandria and Cairo placing third and seventh, respectively. Algiers and Oran, coastal cities in Algeria, ranked 11th and 16th.
Tunis finished sixth out of the 100 African cities surveyed and had the highest overall ranking in the category of “society”, which considered issues such as education, economic security and social inclusion.
“The strong results (for cities in North Africa) reflect their functional economies, although times are still difficult for Tunisia,” said Jérôme Chenal, a specialist in African cities, who directed the survey.
“In terms of housing, for example, the region has always had a tradition of providing social housing programmes,” he said, adding that North Africa benefits from strong environmental initiatives and its proximity to Europe.
Unlike previous ratings on Africa that were aimed at investors and expatriates, Chenal’s survey focused on measuring quality of life for the cities’ inhabitants.
“The purpose of the survey is not just to rate cities but rather to evaluate — in the long term — whether the millions invested in programmes are having an effect in everyday people’s quality of life,” said Chenal.
While the results were encouraging for Africa’s Maghreb, the region faces serious economic and security concerns, intensified by the conflict in Libya.
Tunisia’s economy took a hit after terrorist attacks drove away tourists in 2015 and 2016 but officials have announced ambitious reforms. In November, the country hosted more than 2,000 business and political leaders from around the world to bolster the economy and drive development.
In Morocco, tourism numbers have remained strong and the country hopes to double the number of visitors and the revenues they add to the economy by 2020.