The world’s most expensive city isn’t Paris or London or even New York City. It’s Luanda. Angola’s oil-rich capital city is the priciest city for the second year in the row, according to a yearly study by the Mercer Group. Tokyo is the second priciest city in the world, while the city of N’Djamena in Chad came in in third place. Moscow is in fourth position with Geneva in fifth and Osaka in sixth. New York City placed a relatively distant 32nd. Karachi, Pakistan was deemed the least expensive city.
The report, which is published annually to help companies assess compensation allowances for expatriate workers, compared the cost of over 200 items including housing, food and transport in 214 cities, using New York as a reference.
Luanda is ridiculously expensive. The city was designed for a couple hundred thousand inhabitants but today the population is somewhere around five million people. Limited infrastructure and inflation mean that the cost of food is high (fuel is cheaper than water) and the rent on a small two-bedroom apartment in Luanda can cost $7,000 a month. The infrastructure is in dire need of an overhaul.
The end of the war in 2002 led to an investment boom by China and some Western nations which helped turn Angola into one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Costs will remain exorbitant in Luanda because oil companies, and the teeny percentage of Angolans who are profiting from them, can afford it. Angola has tons of potential outside of oil, but like in most countries in Africa, proper management and competent leaders are needed for this to happen.