For a long time, Africa has been subject to numerous stereotypical conspiracies and notions that have painted an unattractive picture of the continent. One such notion is that Africa faces huge security challenges. However, it will surprise you to know the safest cities in Africa and what they offer.
While reports show that some parts of Africa suffer high crime and violence, many cities in Africa have promising safety standards. In 2022, Statista reported that cities like Kigali, Rabat, and Alexandria scored over 60 points on the security index score.
Besides, most African cities have made significant efforts to reduce crimes. Cities like Cape Town in South Africa that have been notorious for crime experienced a reduction in murder rates by 40.5% in 2022.
Safety in cities goes beyond crime and violence mitigation. Aspects like road safety and natural calamities are also considered when evaluating safety. The report from the International Citizens shines a light on the safest cities in Africa.
What is the safest city in Africa to live in?
The safety of a city depends on several factors. For safety to prevail, several stakeholders, including law enforcers, urban developers, and city dwellers, have to work together. The following are features that promote safety in an African city.
Dedicated law enforcement
African nations have law enforcement bodies tasked with ensuring law and order are maintained in cities. The need for dedicated law enforcement in cities arises from the rising urban population in most African cities—statistically, crime is likely to be committed in populated areas.
Nations with the safest cities in Africa deploy specialized officers to confront criminals, which significantly improves safety. To augment safety, organizations like the United Nations also support these efforts. The UNODC initiative is a perfect example.
As urbanization and industrialization have become a norm in Africa, most cities are adopting overt surveillance as a safety feature. The government and other parties mount CCTV systems strategically for activity monitoring.
For instance, countries like Nigeria and Kenya have CCTV systems on major highways, city streets, and shopping malls. Such measures enhance crime management, which improves safety in African cities. People are less inclined to commit crimes if they know they are being monitored.
Empowering the youth—who make up most of Africa’s population dynamics—remarkably helps to reduce crime. As a bon mot says, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” If Africa’s young population is not provided with employment opportunities, they easily turn to crime.
In the safest cities in Africa, the youth are empowered through education, employment, and improved living standards. This empowerment has promoted industrious youth across many African cities.
The safest cities in Africa according to International Citizens
This list of the safest cities in Africa was compiled using reports by International Citizens, a group that offers reliable information to international travelers and expatriates. African Vibes went deeper to uncover the reasons why these cities were identified as safe.
It is important to mention upfront that while these cities are considered safe, caution and personal safety should still be observed. A handful of opportunistic criminals often parade the streets and will seize any opportunity that presents itself to rob unsuspecting victims.
#1. Kigali (The Republic of Rwanda)
A survey placed Rwanda as number six on the list of the safest countries worldwide. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that Kigali, her capital city, is one of the safest cities in Africa. The high level of safety in Kigali is mainly attributed to the unrelenting law enforcers in the city.
Efforts by the Rwandan government to weed out corruption in the police force have also contributed to a professional force that promotes safety in the city.
#2. Rabat (Morocco)
In 2019, Morocco was the second most visited African country. Visitors—especially tourists—consider safety when touring foreign locations. Besides her high safety standards, Morocco boasts a welcoming culture that draws in tourists. Other than petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, Rabat experience only a few heinous crimes.
Rabat is where the King resides. Therefore, it makes sense for the city to be secure. Also, the easygoing culture of the city is a bummer for criminals. Still, some scammers try to take advantage of the huge number of tourists.
#3. The city of Victoria (Seychelles)
The high level of safety in Victoria is thanks to the stability of the government of Seychelles. For the most part, the government has managed to control organized crime, which is usually a major blow to stability in the administration.
The most common types of crime recorded in Victoria are non-violent. They include petty theft, break-ins, and opportunist thefts. While the police work hard to alleviate crime in the city, these crimes can be avoided by exercising personal security. Tips for foreign travel into Victoria, Seychelles provides further details on how to improve personal security.
#4. Gaborone (Botswana)
Gaborone is one of the safest cities in Southern Africa. As the capital of Botswana, it hosts a huge population which puts it at risk of attracting lawbreakers. The fact that it ranks among the safest cities in Africa speaks volumes about its governance and people.
Democracy in the country promotes political and economic stability. For foreigners, the chances of falling for tricks by opportunists are low since you can communicate with the locals fluently in English.
#5. Nairobi (Kenya)
The safety situation in Nairobi varies from region to region. Most of the safest parts of Nairobi include the posh neighborhoods like Karen, where most government officials live. These suburbs are always under CCTV surveillance and are restricted to public transportation or idling, which can be a threat to security.
However, other parts of Nairobi are relatively safe, except for non-violent crimes such as snatching and pick-pocketing, which are rampant in the city center. Nonetheless, the government has put in measures like safety awareness to improve safety in unsafe areas.
#6. Taghazout (Morocco)
Taghazout is the safest coastline city in southeast Morocco. The city administration strengthens the city’s security since it entirely depends on tourism for foreign exchange earnings. It’s so safe that foreigners can roam around unguided without worrying about scammers or petty thieves. Still, you have to exercise caution to avoid falling prey to the few opportunists in the city.
Security is tightened in Taghazout by police officers who are always hard at work to arrest any criminal suspects in the city. The Directorate General of National Security of Moroccan police is responsible for public order and protecting people and property in Taghazout.
#7. Tangier (Morocco)
Police patrol has kept Tangier free of major crimes for years. Additionally, the homey nature of Moroccans reduces the chances of criminal activities in the city. Apart from the few petty crimes by some souvenir vendors, the crime rate is generally low in Tangier. This makes it one of the safest cities in Africa.
Tangier is also a hub of activity. It attracts a lot of Moroccans who flow to the city to look for opportunities in the free and industrial zones. Engaging the youth in meaningful work lowers their chances of getting involved in crime.
#8. Windhoek (Namibia)
Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia and one of the safest cities in Africa. Safety, especially for tourists, is promoted by the city’s tourist protection police unit in the city’s central business district. The city police also have CCTV systems in various parts of the city to monitor activities in real-time.
#9. Agadir (Morocco)
Agadir is primarily safe because of the Agadir Al Massira Airport, which connects Morocco to many destinations worldwide. Also, this airport links Agadir to other major cities in Morocco. Given that Morocco receives many tourists through this airport, safety in the city is a must.
The national police in Agadir operate from the sûreté nationale police station. Police officers are assigned duties in various parts of the city. Together with the UNODC initiative, the police force works to enforce the law and limit organized crime. Efforts towards this goal have made Agadir one of the safest cities in Africa.
#10. Lusaka (Zambia)
The travel guidelines authority in the United States ranks Zambia’s security level at number one (with the highest level being ten). This level means foreigners should practice normal precautions in the country. At this level, the country is mostly considered safe. In Lusaka, crime rates are quite low because of effective surveillance.
Given that Lusaka is a populous city and prone to demonstrations and riots—mainly political—security in Zambia gets disrupted from time to time. However, the authorities respond quickly to restore sanity in the city whenever such unforeseen events happen.
Overall, being safe in Africa comes down to personal safety, common sense, and getting reliable help from concerned authorities. In some African countries, groups of outlaws easily seize opportunities to prey on tourists. However, this is not peculiar to Africa alone.
Each of the cities on this list has made significant efforts to combat petty crime and ensure the safety of its citizens and tourists. Authorities use CCTV cameras and brutal force (if required) to deal with offenders. These strategies have been effective in keeping the safest cities in Africa safe.
Have you visited any of the safest cities in Africa? What was your experience with security in that country? Did your experience match the reports of International Citizens? Feel free to share your thoughts using the comment box below.
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