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Lagos, Nigeria’s economic heartbeat, is the third most expensive city in Africa / Photo: Lagos State Government

New study ranks Africa’s most and least expensive cities for expatriates

Mercer’s 26th Cost of Living Survey finds majority of African cities have risen in rankings in the most and least expensive cities for expatriates globally

* The most expensive cities are Victoria, N’djamena and Lagos
* The least expensive cities are Banjul, Windhoek and Tunis

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 15, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- According to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey, majority of African countries have risen in ranking in terms of expenses and cost of living for expatriates.

This year, Victoria, Seychelles (14) takes the lead as the most expensive city in Africa while Ndjamena, Chad (15), dropped four places from last year’s ranking as the most expensive city. Tunis in Tunisia (209) again ranks as the least expensive city in the region and globally.

In comparison with last year’s report, Lagos, Nigeria (18) rose seven places due to high cost for rent and high prices for groceries, followed by Kinshasa, the Dem. Rep. of Congo (24) which dropped two places. Accra, Ghana, moved from 63 to 57, while Nairobi, Kenya, moved from 97 to 95 and Casablanca, Morocco moved from 128 to 121. Luanda, Angola (115) dropped significantly, moving from 26 in 2019 to 115, this year.

“COVID-19 pandemic has created social and economic disruptions across the globe and Africa has not been an exception. We’re seeing a significant increase in the cost of living across cities and it’s important for organisations to reassess their mobility programs with a focus on the wellbeing of their employees,” said Didintle Kwape, Associate, Career Products at Mercer Africa.

Mercer’s 26th Cost of Living Survey finds that specific factors such as currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices, are essential to determining the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments.

Global Ranking

According to the survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in second position. Tokyo and Zurich remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth, down two places from last year. New York City ranked sixth, moving up from ninth place.

Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Bern (8), Geneva (9), and Beijing (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), Tashkent and Bishkek, which tied to rank 206.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage,” said Ilya Bonic, Career President and Head of Mercer Strategy. “Rather than bet on a dramatic resurgence of mobility, organizations should prepare for the redeployment of their mobile workforces, leading with empathy and understanding that not all expatriates will be ready or willing to go abroad.”

Mercer’s widely recognised survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies 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 survey includes over 400 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Report distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Mercer.

Note for Editors
The figures for Mercer’s cost of living and rental accommodation cost comparisons are derived from a survey conducted in March 2020. Exchange rates from that time and Mercer’s international basket of goods and services from its Cost of Living Survey have been used as base measurements.

Governments and major companies use data from this survey to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on demand for data.

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed.

For more information on city rankings, visit https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/Insights/cost-of-living-rankings.

To purchase copies of individual city reports, visit https://mobilityexchange.mercer.com/multinational-approach-cost-of-living-data.

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