Harare has poor healthcare and political violence, but property is relatively inexpensive

Harare has poor healthcare and political violence, but property is relatively inexpensive
Harare has poor healthcare and political violence, but property is relatively inexpensive

Harare in Zimbabwe the fourth least liveable city in the world, according to The Economist, no doubt due to Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime and its violent police state nature.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Survey assesses the locations around the world that provide the best or the worst living conditions.

Property Observer has looked at the cities ranked six through 10, plus number one, Dhaka, Bangladesh, two, Port Moresby, Papua New Guineathree, Lagos, Nigeria, and five, Algiers, Algeria.

The survey doesn’t include the absolute worst of the worst, just cities or business centres that people might feasibly want to live in or visit. So it does not include cities like Kabul in Afghanistan or Baghdad in Iraq, both in the grip of conflict.

Conflict is generally found to be the primary reason for the position of the bottom ranked cities.

“Threat of armed conflict will not just cause disruption in its own right, it will also damage infrastructure, overburden hospitals, and undermine the availability of goods, services and  recreational activities,” the report says.

Healthcare is shockingly poor and has the worst rating by a long way. Culture and environment rates notably highly, as does education, but infrastructure and stability score poorly.

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Smart Traveller says the situation in Zimbabwe is generally calm, with occasional outbreaks of political violence in some urban and rural areas. It says there is potential for the security situation to deteriorate quickly.

“You should remain vigilant in high-density (lower-income) urban areas because of the potential for the security situation to deteriorate,” the site says.

“Residents and visitors can be arbitrarily detained or arrested.”

The greater metropolitan area has a population of 2.8 million as of 2009 and is Zimbabwe’s largest.

Mugabe’s land reforms have led to white assets being seized ostensibly to redistribute to the poorer black community, but much of the land remains in the hands of government cronies. It is possible for foreigners to buy in the country, though buyers should obviously exercise due diligence.

That said, we’ve hit the listings to see what’s available.

Serbian-run website Numbeo lists the inner-city apartment prices in Harare at $1,000 a square metre. The numbers are based on user contributed figures and should be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.

Prices are quoted in US dollars as the Zimbabwe dollar was effectively abandoned in 2009.

A charming two-bedroom flat (pictured below) in the suburb of Avondale is listed for sale at US$120,000 (A$115,775). It comes with a front and back yard and a granite kitchen. Lovely. 

And a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Highlands (pictured below) is listed for sale at US$270,000. It comes with a very good borehole.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter


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