Nairobi city under the late afternoon sun. The cost of living in Kenya's capital keeps rising.

Global consulting companty Mercer has released the results of its 2019 Cost of Living survey, ranking cities around the world.  Generally the cost of living in Nairobi, Kenya, is moderate compared to other expat destinations.

Last year, the Mercer Cost of Living report ranked it as a mid-range expense location (123rd out of 209 cities). However according to this year’s report, Nairobi has gone up from 123 to 97 on the ranking for the most costly cities.

N’Djamena, Chad takes the lead as the highest-ranking city in Africa. Kinshasa, Dem. Rep. of Congo (22) is in second place, rising fifteen places. Libreville, Gabon (24) is the next African city on the list, followed by Lagos, Nigeria (25), which moved up seventeen places. And despite dropping about 20 places, Luanda, Angola (26) still remains in fifth place.

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“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. Let’s look at it this way, while a city like N’Djamena in Chad has been listed as the 11th most expensive city in the world, whereas Mali comes in at the 124th position in terms of cost of living,” said Yolanda Sedlmaier, Principal Leader – Africa Mobility at Mercer.

In a rapidly changing world, mobility programs have become a core component of multinational organizations’ global talent strategy. Organizations realize that to thrive they must embrace change, adapt to new technologies, and build emerging skills to attract, motivate, and enhance talent.

“In a skill-focused economy driven by digital disruption and the need for a globally connected workforce, deploying expatriate employees is an increasingly important aspect of a competitive business strategy for global companies,” said Ilya Bonic, President of Mercer’s Career business.

“There are numerous personal and organizational advantages for sending employees overseas, including career development, global experience, new skillsets, and re-allocation of resources. By offering fair and competitive compensation packages, organizations can facilitate moves that drive business results.”

Mercer’s 25th annual Cost of Living Survey finds 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.

Global ranking

Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey finds that eight out of the top ten of the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates are Asian cities, resulting from high costs for expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market. Tokyo (2), Singapore (3) and Seoul (4) top the list, while the costliest city in the world for the second consecutive year is Hong Kong (1).

Other cities appearing in the top ten are Zurich (5), Shanghai (6), Ashgabat (7), Beijing (8), New York City (9), and Shenzhen (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates are Tunis (209), Tashkent (208), and Karachi (207).

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Mercer Cost of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings 2019
(Mercer international basket, including rental accommodation costs)
Rank as of March
City
Country/Regio
n
2018
2019
1
1
HONG KONG
Hong Kong (SAR)
2
2
TOKYO
Japan
4
3
SINGAPORE
Singapore
5
4
SEOUL
South Korea
3
5
ZURICH
Switzerland
7
6
SHANGHAI
China
43
7
ASHGABAT
Turkmenistan
9
8
BEIJING
China
13
9
NEW YORK CITY
United States
12
10
SHENZHEN
China
8
11
NDJAMENA
Chad
10
12
BERN
Switzerland
11
13
GENEVA
Switzerland
21
14
VICTORIA
Seychelles
16
15
TEL AVIV
Israel
28
16
SAN FRANCISCO
United States
15
17
GUANGZHOU
China
35
18
LOS ANGELES
United States
23
19
OSAKA
Japan
14
20
COPENHAGEN
Denmark
26
21
DUBAI
United Arab Emirates
37
22
KINSHASA
Dem. Rep. of the Congo
19
23
LONDON
United Kingdom
18
24
LIBREVILLE
Gabon
42
25
LAGOS
Nigeria
6
26
LUANDA
Angola
17
27
MOSCOW
Russia
25
27
NANJING
China
22
29
NOUMEA
New Caledonia
24
30
ABIDJAN
Côte d’Ivoire
31
30
CHENGDU
China
29
32
TIANJIN
China
40
33
ABU DHABI
United Arab Emirates
41
33
NAGOYA
Japan
27
35
TAIPEI
Taiwan
45
35
RIYADH
Saudi Arabia
51
37
CHICAGO
United States
54
38
HONOLULU
United States
19
39
BRAZZAVILLE
Congo
52
40
BANGKOK
Thailand
36
41
QINGDAO
China
56
42
WASHINGTON
United States
32
43
DUBLIN
Ireland
60
44
MIAMI
United States
33
45
MILAN
Italy
38
45
SHENYANG
China
34
47
PARIS
France
66
47
DHAKA
Bangladesh
70
49
BOSTON
United States
29
50
SYDNEY
Australia
39
51
VIENNA
Austria
43
52
YAOUNDE
Cameroon
65
53
BEIRUT
Lebanon
48
54
BANGUI
Central African Republic
46
55
ROME
Italy
79
56
WHITE PLAINS
United States
77
57
MANAMA
Bahrain
50
58
AMSTERDAM
Netherlands
73
59
DJIBOUTI
Djibouti
86
59
HOUSTON
United States
47
61
OSLO
Norway
85
62
DALLAS
United States
63
63
ACCRA
Ghana
90
64
SEATTLE
United States
53
65
HELSINKI
Finland
73
66
DOUALA
Cameroon
55
67
MUMBAI
India
57
67
MUNICH
Germany
95
69
ATLANTA
United States
75
70
MONTEVIDEO
Uruguay
97
70
MORRISTOWN
United States
62
72
DAKAR
Senegal
95
72
SAN JUAN
Puerto Rico
68
74
FRANKFURT
Germany
49
75
ST. PETERSBURG
Russia
94
75
AMMAN
Jordan
67
77
BRUSSELS
Belgium
102
78
MINNEAPOLIS
United States
58

(Africa Media Agency)

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