South Africa has been declared the cheapest country to live in or retire to, according to financial institution, Gobanking rates. This list was generated by Numbeo, an online database. Apart from South Africa, the only other African countries to feature in the top 50 is Zambia, while Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco came in 25th, 34th and 46th place respectively. Nigeria has no place among the 112 countries that were ranked, raising questions concerning why the largest economy in Africa was not placed on the list.
Four different criteria were used in determining the rankings: Local Purchasing Power index, Rent index, Groceries index and Consumer Price index. For the local purchasing power index, the purchasing power of the average salary in that country is compared with that of New York City. A lower purchasing power buys less goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more. For example, South Africa, the number one country on the list has a 26.9 percent higher purchasing power than New York City. Likewise, the rent index compares the average rent prices in these countries with that of New York City. The groceries index and consumer price index use the same measurement too, comparing the “typical” grocery price in that country to that of New York and the average price of restaurants, transportation, utilities e.t.c.
Why the ranking may be flawed
Nigeria, being the largest economy in Africa, was excluded from the list and this is worrisome. Perhaps, the exclusion points to the greater issue of the Naira’s purchasing power. It’s exclusion from the list seems to suggest that the Naira is worth less than currencies of countries like Nepal, Brazil, Bangladesh, Palestine. Or it could also mean that Nigeria did not make the ranking, because the ability to live cheaply or retire might be threatened by insecurity, a rampant phenomenon in Nigeria due to the Boko Haram scourge in certain parts of the country. However, if this is a basis for excluding Nigeria, then countries like Iraq and Syria should not have made the list (ranked above the United states), since they battle with national insecurity as well.
The online database, Numbeo, where most information for the ranking was extracted, is based on user-contributions i.e. a user can go online and upload information regarding rent, cost of living e.t.c. of the country he/she lives in. This implies that any data from here is prone to being manipulated by anyone who has access to the site. A user can decide to input incorrect data, just like in certain instances on Wikipedia, to be mischievous or out-rightly mislead the public. Or maybe it just costs too much to live in Nigeria and in that case the government should work towards reducing this.