The 10 Richest African Cities

Wealthy homes in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Editorial credit: Sunshine Seeds /
Wealthy homes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Editorial credit: Sunshine Seeds /

It's no surprise that cities from the continent's biggest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, dominant the list of the richest cities in Africa. Other regional economic powerhouses such as Egypt and Kenya also have their cities making appearances. The yardstick used to establish the wealth of a city is the number of its residents who have a net worth of $30 million and above.

The 10 Richest African Cities

1. Johannesburg

Johannesburg has the highest number of super-rich individuals on the continent, with 298 of its residents having a net worth of over $30 million. The city also has an estimated 18,200 millionaires, more than in any other city in Africa. The city has a GDP of $83.9 billion and has its service industry as its primary economic driver. As South Africa’s economic hub, Johannesburg is the national economic product’s largest metropolitan contributor, accounting for 16% of the nation’s GDP. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is the continent’s largest stock exchange.

2. Cairo

Egypt’s capital is recognized as the continent’s second-richest city and the richest in North Africa. The city is home to 150 affluent people each having a value of at least $30 million, the highest in North Africa, and the second-highest in Africa. Cairo also has the highest number of millionaires of any city in North Africa, having 8,900 millionaires. As the economic hub of Egypt, Cairo accounts for more than 20% of the country’s economy. Agriculture, service, and tourism are among the main economic drivers in Cairo.

3. Lagos

Nigeria is regarded as Africa’s largest economy. The country’s capital city, Lagos, is one of the continent’s richest cities. 131 individuals in Lagos have net-worth of at least $30 million, the highest number of any city in West Africa and the third-highest on the continent. As home to the country’s oil industry, the economy of Lagos revolves around its oil wealth.The city is Nigeria’s economic and financial hub and accounts for 10% of Nigeria’s GDP. ICT and shipping are also important economic drivers in Lagos, with the Port of Lagos, which is among the busiest ports on the continent.

4. Cape Town

Cape Town has a GDP of $58.9 billion which when divided by its population of 0.433 million translates to a GDP per capita of $15,918. Cape Town has the second-highest number of super-rich residents of any city in the country, with its 115 individuals being only fewer than those in Johannesburg. The high number of ultra-rich people in Cape Town makes it the fourth-richest city in Africa and the third-richest in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the suburbs where Cape Town’s wealthy reside include Constanta, Bishopscourt, and Camps Bay. The city’s IT industry is notable as it is the largest, not only in South Africa but on the continent.

5. Nairobi

Nairobi ranks fifth in Africa’s richest cities, and Kenya’s capital city has more millionaires than any other city in East Africa, 69 of whom are regarded as ultra-rich individuals. The city’s number of millionaires grew by 16.2% to reach 1,290 millionaires in 2017. The figure is projected to grow exponentially over the years and is expected to exceed 2,000 individuals by 2022. The city is the financial and economic hub of the region, with dozens of international organizations having their African headquarters in the city. The city’s stock exchange, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is the largest in the region and is among Africa’s largest exchanges.

6. Dar es Salaam

Despite being among the poorest countries in the world, Tanzania has recorded one of the fastest growths in per capita income of any country. The country’s most populous city, Dar es Salaam is the richest city in the country and among the richest in Africa. The city is home to 36 ultra-rich people, the second-highest in East Africa, and the sixth-highest of any city in Africa. The DSE (Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange) is the country’s largest stock exchange. One of the most important economic drivers in for the city is its service industry. Tanzania’s primary port is situated in the city, making trade an important contributor to Dar es Salaam’s economy.

7. Abuja

The seventh-richest city in Africa based on its population of millionaires is Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. The number of ultra-rich individuals in Abuja stands at 23 people, the second-highest in West Africa and only exceeded by Lagos. Many of Nigeria’s largest companies are headquartered in the city including Central Bank of Nigeria. Transport is a major economic driver of Nigeria’s capital city, with the city having an extensive railway and road network.

8. Addis Ababa

Ethiopia is an economic giant in Eastern Africa and has in recent years experienced a tremendous economic growth rate. The country’s capital, Addis Ababa, is recognized as the eighth-richest city in Africa and among the richest in the region. 21 of the city’s residents are valued at $30 million per person, the highest number of any city in Ethiopia. Commerce, trade, and manufacturing are the most important sectors in the economy of Addis Ababa and cumulatively account for the bulk of the city’s GDP. The city is also known for being the political capital of Africa as its houses the African Union’s headquarters.

9. Marrakesh

Despite being the fourth-largest city in Morocco, Marrakesh ranks as the country’s richest city, having the highest number of super-rich individuals in Morocco. The city has 15 residents who are valued at over $30 million, more than in any other city in North Africa except Cairo. Tourism is a primary economic contributor in the city, with Marrakesh attracting millions of tourists each year. The city has an ambitious goal of having 20 million tourists visiting annually by 2020. The service industry also contributes a significant portion of the city’s GDP.

10. Kano

Kano has the third-highest number of ultra-rich people in Nigeria and sums up the list of Africa’s ten richest cities. Ten individuals in Kano qualify to be regarded as ultra-high-net-worth, each of whom is worth at least $30 million. The city is the largest in Nigeria’s Kano State and is also its state capital. With a population of over 2.8 million residents, Kano is Nigeria’s second-most populous city, only surpassed by Lagos. Textiles, grains, and leather are the most important products sourced from the city which drive trade in Kano.

Economic Impact Of The Ultra-Rich Individuals

There is a direct relationship between the number of ultra-rich people in a city and its economic growth. A high number of ultra-rich people is an indication of a bulging middle-class in a city who are linked to the economic growth of the city. However, in most cases, the ultra-rich people in a city control the majority of the city’s wealth, which is a testament to the huge economic gap between the rich and the poor.

The 10 Richest African Cities

RankCityCountryUltra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWI’s)
1JohannesburgSouth Africa298
4Cape TownSouth Africa115
6Dar Es SalaamTanzania36
7Abuja Nigeria23
8Addis AbabaEthiopia21

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