How does Ghana’s capital city cope with not just being most expensive but also most polluted?

Numbeo index at the end of 2016 shows the city of Accra as the most expensive place to live in Africa with a Cost of Living index of 66.24 and Cost of Living plus Rent index of 58.03, 59.16% higher than in Nigeria.

In Africa, Accra is followed by Dar Es Salaam, Harare, Tripoli, Addis Ababa, and Johannesburg who had a cost of living index of 56.20, 52.45, 49.14, 47, and 45 respectively; while leading global cities like Madrid and Lisbon in the cost of living.

More so, Accra is the most polluted in Africa.

Accra, the capital of Ghana, in recent years has received increasing number of expatriates and tourists. Hospitality and Real Estate development is on the boom as the city promises to be one of the most fast developing cities in Africa.

The ranking was published by numbeo.com, a website that tracks several countries with respect to pollution, health, crime, among others.

The cost of living index depicts how expensive it is to live in Ghana’s capital.

Irrespective of that, pollution seems to be a chronic illness of the city. Poor waste management coupled with the littering attitude of most Ghanaian residents makes the city full of filth. The city in recent years reported a Cholera outbreak which claimed the lives of over 100 people. Currently, plastic waste remains a huge challenge to the waste management sector as there are no robust systems in place to manage plastic waste in the city and across the country. Majority of residents depend on drinking water which are sold in 500ml plastic sachets; on the average people consume at least 3 sachets a day and dispose the sachets improperly (littering). Gathered waste are often transported by waste management services, however, it is also very common to see gathered waste being burnt to reduce its volume. Accra, the city with the highest cost of living in Africa, need to do more to protect the health of its residents.

The rating index indicates that the most expensive cities to live in Africa are also the most polluted.

In crime, South Africa cities Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, followed by Lagos in Nigeria, were highest respectively compared to Ghana in 19th position.

While Numbeo ranked the pollution index of Accra is rated at 102.61 the World Health Organization (WHO) also puts Accra on a high pollution scale with an index of 98 with respect to Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) and an index of 49 for Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5).

Accra, Ghana’s capital, has the highest pollution ranking among the top ten African countries with the highest cost of living. Other top ranking cities such as Cairo, Egypt, Addis Ababa Ethopia, Casablanca, Morocco, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Nairobi, Kenya, Tunis, Tunisia, Harare, Zimbabwe ,  Johannesburg, South Africa  occupy the top 10 in Africa.

Conversely, some African countries with low cost of living seems to offer better environmental quality. Rwanda’s Kigali, and Libya’s Tripoli which are ranked as cities with low cost of living had greatest environmental satisfaction to expatriates, tourists, and residents – with an index of 41.72, and 46.31. The pollution ranking is based on factors such as air pollution, noise and light pollution, dirty and untidy streets, garbage disposal, and water pollution.

The index also shows that Accra ranks 247 in the world following Leicester in the United Kingdom and Stuttgart in Germany who both had an index of 66.56 and 66.27 at the end of 2016. Accra is rated above famous cities such as Bonn, Abu Dhabi Sheffield, Oklahoma City, Berlin, San Jose, Madrid, Athens, Lisbon, Beijing, Moscow, and many other cities with ratings far below Accra’s 66.24. Numbeo ratings is mainly based on a mixture of visitors and residents experience in cities across the world. The index is scaled from 0 to 100; with 0 as very low and 100 as very high.

Methodology used:

To collect data Numbeo relies on user inputs and manually collected data from authoritative sources (websites of supermarkets, taxi company websites, governmental institutions, newspaper articles, other surveys, etc.).

For a particular price in a city, values are 5, 6, 20 and 4 in a reasonable time span, the value 20 is discarded as a noise.

Afterwards, ¼ (one quarter) of lowest and highest inputs are discarded as borderline cases. Out of remaining entries, mean value is calculated and lowest and highest number is displayed.

To put it briefly, Numbeo uses heuristic technology. Using the existing data Numbeo periodically discards data which most likely are incorrect statistically. Numbeo also archives the values of old data (our default data deprecation policy is 12 months, although we use data up to 18 months old when we don’t have fresh data and indicators suggest that inflation is low). The values of old data are preserved to be used for historical purposes. Due to higher number of inputs for a country than for a city, data showed on a country level in general contains lower noise than data showed on a city level.