The Star (Nairobi)

16 July 2014

Kenya: Nairobi Drops 30 Slots in Global Cost of Living Survey

Nairobi has slid 30 positions this year in a global ranking of cost of living for expatriates by UK-based advisory firm Mercer.

In the survey released last Thursday, Nairobi has moved closer to the top band of most expensive cities for expatriates globally. It has been ranked a joint 117th with Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 147th last year.

This slide has been attributed to increase in accommodation costs and demand, with the data on cost of living and rental accommodation having been collected in March.

Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living Survey covers 211 cities worldwide and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

"Interestingly, several cities jumped up the list this year following large increases in both accommodation cost and demand, coupled with strong local currencies. Dhaka and Nairobi (both 117) and Dubai (67) soared thirty seven, thirty and twenty-three spots, respectively," said Nathalie Constantin-Métral, who compiled the survey ranking.

Luanda in Angola rank is the most expensive city globally for expats for the second year in a row in the ranking, followed by N'Djamena, Chad, and Hong Kong.

"Currency fluctuations and the impact of inflation on goods and services have influenced the cost of expatriate programs as well as the city rankings," Mercer said in a statement.

The firm's survey - which uses New York as the base city - is intended to help multinational companies and governments to determine compensation allowances for expatriate employees.

"Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices," said Ed Hannibal, a partner at Mercer's Mobility service.

He said most African cities ranked high in the list due to the difficulty in finding accommodation for expatriates, which is costly to secure.

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