Windhoek among cheapest for expats

Windhoek has been ranked the second cheapest place in the world for foreigners to live and work in.

23 June 2020 | Economics



Windhoek has been ranked as one of the cheapest cities for expatriates to live in.

This is according to the 26th Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

The consultancy ranks Windhoek as the second least expensive place among 209 cities. The cheapest city for expatriates is Tunis in Tunisia.

The Mercer survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees.

It measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

The latest survey found that the cost of living for expatriates has increased in most African cities.

Victoria in Seychelles (14) takes the lead as the most expensive city in Africa while Ndjamena in Chad (15) dropped four places from last year's ranking as the most expensive city.

In comparison with last year's report, Lagos in Nigeria (18) rose seven places due to high cost of rent and groceries, followed by Kinshasa in the DRC (24), which dropped two places.

Accra in Ghana moved from 63 to 57, while Nairobi in Kenya moved from 97 to 95 and Casablanca in Morocco moved from 128 to 121. Luanda in Angola (115) dropped significantly, moving from 26 in 2019 to 115 this year. Windhoek dropped four places from last year's rank of 204.


“The coronavirus pandemic has created social and economic disruptions across the globe and Africa has not been an exception. We are seeing a significant increase in the cost of living across cities and it's important for organisations to reassess their mobility programmes with a focus on the wellbeing of their employees,” said Didintle Kwape of Mercer Africa.

According to the survey, Hong Kong tops the list as the most expensive city for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat in Turkmenistan in second position. Tokyo and Zurich remain in third and fourth positions respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth, down two places from last year. New York City ranked sixth, moving up from ninth place. Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer's costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Bern (8), Geneva (9), and Beijing (10).

The world's least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer's survey, are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), Tashkent and Bishkek, which tied to rank 206.

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