By Ogova Ondego
Published June 22, 2016
Luanda, Kinshasa and Ndjamena are among the 10 most expensive cities to live in in the world.
According to the 22nd annual Cost of Living Survey by lifestyle consulting firm Mercer, Angola’s Luanda, Congo-Kinshasa’s Kinshasa and Chad’s Ndjamena are ranked 2nd, 6th and 9th, respectively.
Others in Africa’s Top 10 Most Expensive Cities list include Nigeria’s Lagos (13th) and Abuja (20th); Seychelles’ Victoria (16th); Congo-Brazzavilles’ Brazzaville (23);Gabon’s Libreville (28); and Guinea-Konakry’s Konakry (36th) and Djibouti’s Djibouti (40th).
Mercer—that specialises in talent, health, retirement and investment issues—argues that factors such as currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices contribute significantly to the cost of living for expatriates on international assignments.
“Despite technology advances and the rise of a globally connected workforce, deploying expatriate employees remains an increasingly important aspect of a competitive multinational company’s business strategy,” says Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business. “However, with volatile markets and stunted economic growth in many parts of the world, a keen eye on cost efficiency is essential, including a focus on expatriate remuneration packages.”
Mercer says the aim of its survey—one of the world’s most comprehensive—is to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees. Mercer uses the United States of America’s New York City and the US Dollar as the base city and currency movement, respectively, for all comparisons in its survey of some 375 cities around the world. The ranking for 2016, Mercer says, examined 209 cities across five continents; it is said to have compared the cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.
Though East African Communities’ cities rank towards the less expensive side, Kenya’s Nairobi (116th) remained the most expensive city in the region, with Uganda’s Kampala (187th) being East Arica’s least expensive city to live in. Kigali and Dar es Salaam are ranked 139th and 187th, respectively. Burundi’s Bujumbura does not feature in the survey.
“Exchange rates’ volatility among most African currencies and the concomitant impact thereof on inflation, some sooner and some later, directly contributes to the varying results when compared against the 2015 findings. The excessive cost of rented expatriate type accommodation in Luanda is greatly contributing to its retained status as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.” explains Carl Van Heerden, Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for Africa.
Believe it or not, but southern Africa’s cities are the least expensive to live in not just in Africa, but globally.
Namibia’s Windhoek (209), South Africa’s Cape Town (208) and Johannesburg (205), Malawi’s Blantyre (206), Botswana’s Gaborone (201) and Zambia’s Lusaka (200) are ranked as being in the World’s Bottom 10 Cities, i.e. Top 10 Less Expensive Cities, to live in. Tunisia’s Tunis completes the list.
Mercer—that says its report is based on a survey conducted in March 2016—says it has also produced individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed for purchase.