Luanda, Angola: The world’s most expensive city for expats

London. Tokyo. New York. Hong Kong. Luanda?

When you think of expensive places to live, Luanda, Angola, probably doesn’t come to mind. But according to a recent study by the consulting firm Mercer, the Angolan capital is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates. Why?

Well, it’s the same reason prices are usually high: too much demand, too little supply. Luanda, a city rife with crippling poverty, has seen several multinational oil companies move to town in recent years, but it lacks the infrastructure, secure housing, and affordable services that many of their employees expect.

“To entice talented staff to [African] cities, multinationals need to provide the same standard of living and benefits that these employees and their families would experience at home,” said a researcher at Mercer. “In some African cities, the cost of this can be extraordinarily high–particularly the cost of good, secure accommodation.”

Cheeseburgers in Luanda cost about $15, with haircuts running $150, and one-year gym memberships costing $2,500. Quality housing in a safe neighborhood can cost just under $10,000 per month.

The survey placed Tokyo second for cost of living, with N’Djamena, Chad, Moscow, and Geneva rounding out the top five. Karachi, Pakistan, was the world’s cheapest city for expats.

More here.

[Photo Credit: Embassy of Angola UK]