Top 10 Poorest Cities In Africa 2020

It is unfortunate that many African cities are still regarded as some of the poorest in the world. The last Mercer Quality Of Living Index (which unveiled the ranking of cities with the highest quality of living) made known the unpleasant state of many African cities too. 

Apart from a few cities like Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg that are doing fine to an extent, many African cities are below par and are with an average quality of living. 

So, the ranking criteria for this list is drawn from important facets like the health condition of the city, education, political and social environment, housing, infrastructures, utilities, etc. 

Here are the poorest ranked cities in Africa:

Top 10 Poorest Cities In Africa 2020 

  •  Khartoum, Sudan

Khartoum of Sudan is regarded as the poorest city in Africa as things stand now. Despite her resources, there are still factors that appear to be working against its growth and development. Indeed, tons of conflicts around is a major factor in this issue. It should also be added that the city has faced numerous unpleasant issues since the 1800s, and it is unfortunate that the government has not been able to settle issues once and for all. 

A lot of people in the city are living in poverty (in fact, generally, nearly half of the country’s population lives in poverty). In the capital city, it was made known that up to 26 percent of the residents are in poverty. 

  •  N’Djamena, Chad

The next on the list is N’Djamena in Chad. Chad is a poor and unpopular country that has great problems and confrontations. 

While the city had been referred to as the most expensive in the continent for expatriates to work in, it comes second on the list of poorest cities in Africa. It is a costly place surrounded by certain unpleasant factors that are hindering its growth and development. 

Chad has a population that is in the region of 15 million, and stats have made it known that almost half of the population is living in poverty. The country is one of the bottom positioned countries in the world UN human development index, doing bad when it comes to vital sectors like health and education.

Although Chad can boast of having crude oil, she, just like some other African countries like Nigeria and Angola, hasn’t been able to harness its resources to ensure appropriate nation-building. And so, despite the oil, despite the foreign exchange, there is nothing much to show for it. A lot of locals can’t afford to live in N’Djamena due to their little salary. 

  •  Brazzaville, Congo

Another poor African city is Brazzaville in Congo. The country gained independence back then in the year 1960 from France and is still struggling as far as development is concerned. Just like some others in its category, the country also witnessed an unpleasant civil war that destroyed a lot of things. When it comes to politics and economics, there have been different movements and experiments. Unfortunately, none had been able to yield the appropriate fruits. 

The Republic of Congo is one of the largest petroleum producers in this part of our world, but experts are admonishing more strategic management from the government to ensure the sustaining of its oil earnings over the long term. Brazzaville, although an important city in the country, is one of the poorest in the whole of Africa as things stand now.  

  • Kinshasa, The Democratic Republic Of The Congo

Kinshasa is the next city on the list of poorest richest African cities. We should start by noting that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the second-largest country in the continent, but it is unfortunate that she is bedeviled by poverty. 

Another unfortunate thing here is that although the territory has tons of rich natural resources, it remains a poor one, with an average annual income that is only $785 US dollars. In fact, according to statistics, over 70 percent of Congolese people are said to be living in poverty (living less than $1.25 a day). 

One of the major things that should be blamed for such backwardness is corruption (which seems like a general thing on the continent). Kinshasa, although filled with potentials, is still regarded as the fourth poorest city in Africa. 

  •  Conakry, Guinea

Conakry is the capital city of Guinea, and it is currently fifth on the list of poorest cities in the continent. Despite having a population that is not up to 3 million, the government hasn’t achieved success in putting in place a system that can shoot the nation higher on the ladder of true prosperity. 

While Conakry is the major city in the country (its administrative and economic hub), it is still bedeviled by tons of challenges, and a lot of people there are really poor. It should be noted that the economy is not a strong one, and its war history has a negative effect on its growth.  

The economy of the city involves handling and storing cargoes, the exportation of bananas, and also alumina. Manufactured products here include; food products and housing materials. The country’s GDP is put at $5.6 billion, so the capital city is relatively poor. Public transport is a rarity that highlights one of the major challenges inhibiting the city’s development. Ethnic discrimination also affects the city. Due to ethnic divisions, the country is developing slowly as it is still affected by its war-torn history.

  •  Nouakchott, Mauritania 

Mauritania is not a popular country quite alright, and then, Nouakchott, which is one of its major cities, is one of the poorest cities in Africa (currently regarded as the sixth poorest in the continent). This territory has been malnourished for some time now, and even recent climatic changes have aggravated issues. 

Corruption can’t but be mentioned when talking about the causes of poverty here.  Although blessed with superb resources such as fish and other forms of minerals, the government hasn’t found success in utilizing these resources to better a lot of the country. Due to the absence of reasonable economic policies, the country hasn’t attracted lots of reasonable foreign investments. It is so bad there that even educated citizens (who should have helped make things right) are leaving the country to societies where better opportunities abound. 

While the land is available for agriculture, many people living there are still starving. According to reports, there are times when many living here don’t get the basic foodstuffs they need to survive. 

  •  Bamako, Mali

7th on this list of poorest cities in Africa, is Bamako, the capital city of Mali. The city has a population that is a little above 1.3 million. While Bamako’s economic activities revolve around processed meat, metals, and textiles, it is still struggling with factors like overpopulation. The downtown area of Bamako is highly overcrowded, polluted, and expensive. 

Bamako is the seventh poorest city in Africa as things stand now, and a lot of residents are still living in the poverty line. 

  •  Niamey, Niger

Niger is one of the African countries still struggling with poverty. Its capital city, Niamey, is the current eighth poorest city in Africa. Niamey is, however, an important city in the Republic of Niger, being the administrative hub of the country. 

Niamey holds the cultural and economic keys of Niger. Niamey is progressing slowly and is one of the poorest cities in the world currently. The population of the city is escalating leading to an increase in crime rates like drug smuggling, kidnapping, terrorism, and also violations of women’s rights. Terrorist group Al Qaeda has set foot in the area.

  •  Tripoli, Libya 

Another poor African city is Tripoli, the capital city of Libya. The Libya of years ago is not the Libya of today – a lot of things have happened in the past years that have ushered in drastic changes. 

Currently, Tripoli is the only North African city on the list, and it will require tons of effort to turn its fortunes around again. 

  •  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 

One of the negative things that have kept this city down is that it is continually under the threat of terrorist attacks. Al-Qaeda has wreaked havoc in the city, and these unpleasant attacks keep hindering appropriate growth. 

Ouagadougou is still one of the poorest cities in Africa, and it is a place where tons of people are unfortunately still living in poverty. Such persons are living unpleasant lifestyles, limited, and hungry. 

There are several factors that are looked at in coming up with this list:

  • The level of infrastructural development is one. Most of the cities on this list have a very obvious low level of infrastructural development.
  • The roads are bad and barely motorable, there is virtually no public transport system in most of them.
  • Also, there are economic challenges.
  • The GDPs of the countries where these cities are located are some of the lowest on the continent.
  • There is a well-documented lack of access to basic amenities such as power and water. Most of these cities have no water supply system so residents have to rely on private water suppliers for their daily household water use.
  • Also, the power situation in most of these countries is appalling. The power supply is epileptic and some areas in these cities do not even get power at all.
  • There are also not enough basic health facilities to cater to the health needs of residents of these cities.
  • The effect of overcrowding in some of the cities is stressing badly the existing facilities which are not even in good shape.
  • Diseases such as typhoid and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS are ravaging these cities.

All these factors combine to lower the living standards of residents of these cities and ranks these cities low when compared to other cities in Africa.


These are the poorest of the major cities in Africa where residents living way below the poverty line. The living standards of people living in these cities are so low that access to basic amenities such as potable water is not put in place. Residents have to struggle to get by every day. Although things are changing slowly in these cities, there is still a long way to go before the administrators of these cities can be congratulated for a job well done.

It is unfortunate that African cities are still battling with poverty despite the resources and other endowments that should have brought prosperity and growth. Hopefully, things will get better soon. 


Tag: Poorest Cities In Africa.