Sunday 11 November 2012
Luanda, capital of Angola, retains title of world's most expensive for expats
Luanda, the capital of oil-rich Angola, is the most expensive city in the world for expatriates to live in while London is now cheaper than Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong and Sydney, a survey has revealed.
By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg
The southern African city won the dubious accolade for the second year running, narrowly edging out Tokyo, which was followed in third place by the Chadian capital N'Djamena, Moscow and Geneva.
Singapore also made the top ten for the first time, along with Sao Paulo in Brazil. The largest city in the western and southern hemispheres, it and its neighbour Rio de Janeiro have become the most expensive locations for expatriates in the whole of the Americas since the real hit its highest mark against the US dollar in 12 years.
Meanwhile London, previously as high as second on the list, has dropped to 18th position due to the rapid climb of other world cities. While its remains among the most expensive world cities to rent a property, go to the cinema or drive a car, it is dwarfed by others in the cost of basic goods and services.
The survey of the cost of living in 214 cities was compiled by human resources firm Mercer which compares the prices of 200 every day items around the world along with the strength of local currencies against the dollar. Governments and international companies use the rankings to decide how much to pay their overseas workers.
Luanda tops a list increasingly dominated by developing Asian and African economies which are expensive because of the short supply of accommodation, locally-produced goods and competing services such as taxis and mobile phone providers.
The Angola city has seen an influx of oil workers and executives since it became sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest oil producer after Nigeria.
But it was also the victim of a 27-year civil war destroyed much of its basic infrastructure, meaning that up to 90 per cent of its food is imported, along with cars and other manufactured goods.
That means that expatriates face paying up to £12 for a fast food meal, £2.46 for a litre of milk, £7.99 for a trip to the cinema and £4.99 for 100g of spaghetti. The most basic of hotels, those living there say, can cost around £250 a night and a 20-minute taxi journey can come in at £30.
Conversely, the plenitude of oil means they pay just £0.37 for a litre of unleaded petrol. Meanwhile, more than 60 per cent of the Angolan population lives on less than £1.25 a day.