FILE PHOTO: Office buildings under construction stand behind the Angolan Central Bank building in the capital, Luanda

JOHANNESBURG - Angola's capital Luanda remains the most expensive city in Africa despite dropping off the top of a global list, a recent survey shows.

The 24th cost of living survey by Mercer also showed that South Africa's Cape Town and Johannesburg have gone up in their ranking, meaning the cost of living has increased, from 199 to 170 and from 191 to 177 respectively.

The report said Luanda, ranked sixth globally, was no longer the most expensive city in the world primarily because of a downward trend in the housing market and the depreciation of the local currency to the US dollar, making it more attractive for foreign investments and also cheaper for foreigners to live in.

Compared to last year’s report, some African countries like Cape Town and Tunis in Tunisia had seen a noticeable increase in accommodation related rentals, although the opposite had been recorded for Cairo in Egypt, where the rental value, especially for houses had dropped.

The Mercer survey is widely recognised as one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees. 

"Using expatriates, especially for highly skilled operational positions or executive positions roles is still prevalent practice among multinationals that are investing in the continent,” said Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, senior mobility consultant at Mercer.

"For example, if it is a relatively new organisation that is starting its operation in the continent, they tend to bring talent from the head office. This is primarily because specialised skills are not yet locally available.”

New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. 

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.

- African News Agency (ANA)