The most expensive cities in Africa are in Chad, Seychelles, with SA still 'cheaper'

Johannesburg and Cape Town are more affordable than most other cities where expats are sent for work.
Johannesburg and Cape Town are more affordable than most other cities where expats are sent for work.
Image: GETTY IMAGES

Coming from abroad, the cost of living in SA is still seen as affordable, despite locals feeling the pinch of a sluggish economy.

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.

Claiming eight of the top 10 spots, Asian cities continue to dominate the list of most expensive locations for working abroad, in the 2019 ranking.

The most expensive cities in which to live in Africa are N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, and Victoria in Seychelles, which take 11th and 14th spots.

Two SA cities are ranked and are much cheaper for expats than other cities on the continent. Of the two, Cape Town is more expensive (180th place on the overall ranking) than Johannesburg (185).

Maputo is ranked 159th, Kampala takes 183rd spot, Gaborone is 189th and Lusaka 196th.

Mercer says its global talent survey showed "65% of employers across all industries and countries are using mobility programmes to enhance their workforce strategies. As a result, multinational organisations are carefully assessing the cost of expatriate packages for their international assignees."

“Cost of living is an important component of a city’s attractiveness for businesses,” said Yvonne Traber, global mobility product solutions leader at Mercer. “Decision makers increasingly acknowledge that globalisation is challenging cities to inform, innovate and compete to foster the kind of satisfaction that attracts both people and investment – the keys to a city’s future.”

The costliest city in the world for the second consecutive year is Hong Kong (1), followed by Tokyo (2), Singapore (3) and Seoul (4).

Other cities appearing in the top 10 are Zurich (5), Shanghai (6), Ashgabat (7), Beijing (8), New York City (9) and Shenzhen (10).

Of other major cities, Dubai takes 21st spot and Abu Dhabi 33rd.

The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates are Tunis (209), Tashkent (208) and Karachi (207).

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