“Each African country has its own unique economy and this is why multinationals need not approach their expatriate packages for Africa with one single strategy,” said Yolanda Sedlmaier, Principal Leader – Africa Mobility at Mercer.
Sedlmaier’s comment came on the back of a study from her outfit which helps companies assess the costs of relocating employees abroad.
The cost of living is usually considered as the amount of money one needs to sustain a certain standard of living by affording the basic necessities and expenses such as housing, food, taxes and healthcare. This is often used to compare how expensive it is to live in one city compared to another.
U.S. firm Mercer recently released the results of its 2019 Cost of Living survey, ranking cities around the world. The Mercer Annual Cost of Living Survey measures the most expensive locations for employees working abroad. It price-checks 200 items, including costs like rent, utilities, petrol, food, alcohol, transport and telecommunications.
The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.
The firm’s 25th annual Cost of Living Survey found that a number of factors, including currency fluctuations, cost of inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices, contribute to the overall cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments.
Ranking 209 cities, including 42 in Africa, the human resources consulting firm found that Asian cities continue to dominate the list of most expensive locations for working abroad. Hong Kong was named the world’s most expensive city for expatriates for the second year running.
Below are Africa’s top 5 most expensive cities to live in:
For those considering living in Seychelles for an extended period of time, the cost of living must be seriously considered. The small island nation, particularly its capital, Victoria, boasts of pristine beaches, green nature, and breathtaking views that have captured the imagination of many travellers, but a trip to the city doesn’t come cheap. The report ranks Victoria as the 14th most expensive city in the world and second in Africa. A large number of tourists that visit the city purchase items without any major competition and this has often been blamed for the high cost of living.
The capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is ranked the third expensive city in the continent and 22nd in the world. Expats have usually complained that items that they would want to buy in the city are expensive. Generally, it is expensive to import and transport goods because most of them are not available locally while the infrastructure needed to move them around is often lacking, experts say. Others have also blamed the high cost of living on a fall in demand for mined raw materials such as copper and cobalt, as well as, corruption.
The city ranks 24th on the list and fourth in Africa. Observers have often said that the high cost of living in Gabon’s Libreville is as a result of the short supply of goods and accommodation that would be acceptable to foreigners.
Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, is the fifth costliest city in Africa. Globally, it is the 25th most expensive city, moving up 17 places from last year’s ranking. According to the report, in comparison with other cities in the world, Lagos continues to remain attractive for foreign investments despite being one of the most expensive in Africa.
With a population of just under 1 million, N’djamena, the capital and largest city in Chad, is the most expensive city to live in Africa. It ranked 11th worldwide, moving up three places as compared to last year’s report. Expats complain that various items, including safe apartments, are hard to find. For instance, an international daily newspaper is priced at $7 while a Club sandwich and soda can go as much as $26. Due to the expense of food and other necessities, 62 per cent of Chadians lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day, according to UNICEF.