Ranked: Africa’s most costly cities

CFA currency money

Mercer, a human resources consulting firm, has released its latest annual Cost of Living Survey, and with it the Cost of Living Rankings – which ranks cities throughout the world from the most to least expensive for expats to live in. The survey’s intention is to help companies and governments determine pay packages for expats.

Luanda remains the most expensive in Africa, but this year has been replaced by Hong Kong as the world’s most costly city for expats. Kinshasa, which ranked 13th in the world last year, has moved to number six – making it the second most expensive city in the continent. Of the cities surveyed, Cape Town (208th) and Windhoek (209th) are the two cheapest to live in, both in Africa and globally.

Below are the 20 most expensive places in Africa to live in for expats.

Cost of living ranking
City Country World ranking
1 Luanda Angola 2
2 Kinshasa Dem. Rep. of the Congo 6
3 N’Djamena Chad 9
4 Lagos Nigeria 13
5 Victoria Seychelles 16
6 Abuja Nigeria 20
7 Brazzaville Congo 23
8 Libreville Gabon 28
9 Conakry Guinea 36
10 Djibouti Djibouti 40
11 Accra Ghana 47
12 Yaoundé Cameroon 50
13 Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire 56
14 Bangui Central African Republic 62
15 Douala Cameroon 70
16 Dakar Senegal 79
17 Cairo Egypt 91
18 Bamako Mali 115
19 Nairobi Kenya 116
20 Cotonou Benin 124

Mercer compares the cost of more than 200 items in each city – things like housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. Factors that impact the cost of living include currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices.

Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business said in a press release, “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.

“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.”

The full rankings can be found here.