Luanda now most expensive world city for expats

Published:  15 Dec at 6 PM
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Although the vast majority of expatriates scattered across the world might not have heard of it, Angola’s capital Luanda is now the planet’s most pricey location for expat professionals.

The Angolan capital has been slowly edging upwards through the five most expensive cities’ list, but now it’s number one – and it’s probable the last place in the world most expats would like to find themselves in, even at a huge salary. The Mercer survey placed it at number one after Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich, with London falling to 30th place in spite of expat howls of disbelief that it’s anything but far too costly to even consider relocation.

The survey focuses entirely on the cost of living, leaving out the many other categories covered by the rest of the survey pack. Its coverage is extensive, including 200 categories such as housing, transport, food, entertainment and clothes as well as comparing the costs of necessary purchases such as milk, bread, beer, a cup of coffee, a pair of jeans and a litre of petrol. Its focus on the price of everyday essentials makes the survey perhaps the most relevant in the entire industry as it tells it like it is with no distractions.

For those who’re wondering why a city they’ve hardly heard of is number one as regards its high cost of living, one unique feature strongly influencing the result is the high price of secure accommodation for expatriate staff as well as everyday goods. In Luanda, it seems, it’s not just crime that pays, it’s companies protecting their expat staff from it. Renting a three-bedroomed unfurnished property of ‘international standard in an appropriate neighbourhood’, comes at an amazing $13,000 a month, presumably not including household insurance against burglary or invasion by your local friendly neighbourhood gang!

The rest of the survey also indicated that, in general, Asian and European cities are the most expensive, with New York being used as a standard against which the rest are measured. One thing is certain, expat professionals aren’t exactly queuing up for relocation to Luanda, meaning companies in the oil and gas sector need to sweeten the relocation package pill far beyond their normal limits in order to fill vacant positions.
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