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Windhoek comes out second cheapest for expatriates in Mecer’s Cost of Living survey

Windhoek comes out second cheapest for expatriates in Mecer’s Cost of Living survey

Windhoek ranks as one of the least expensive cities for expatriates according to the authoritative Mecer Cost of Living 2020 Survey. This is the 26th year that the IT company has compiled the survey which uses New York as the baseline and the US dollar as the exchange benchmark.

After four years of recession, declining property prices and a marked slowdown in inflation, Windhoek now occupies the second lowest position in a list of 209 cities worldwide. Windhoek ranks at number 208 while Tunis in Tunisia ranks cheapest at number 209.

Mercer said in a statement, its widely recognized survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, 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 trends for African cities, however, is that the cost of living for expatriates has increased in the majority of them.

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

In comparison with last year’s report, Lagos, Nigeria (18) rose seven places due to high cost for rent and high prices for groceries, followed by Kinshasa, the DRC (24) which dropped two places. Accra, Ghana moved from 63 to 57, while Nairobi, Kenya, moved from 97 to 95 and Casablanca, Morocco moved from 128 to 121. Luanda, Angola (115) dropped significantly, moving from 26 in 2019 to 115, this year.

Mecer Africa’s Associate for Career Products, Didintle Kwape said “The COVID-19 pandemic has created social and economic disruptions across the globe and Africa has not been an exception. We’re seeing a significant increase in the cost of living across cities and it’s important for organizations to reassess their mobility programmes with a focus on the wellbeing of their employees.”

Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat, 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 (tied at 206).

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage,” said Ilya Bonic, Career President and Head of Mercer Strategy. “Rather than bet on a dramatic resurgence of mobility, organizations should prepare for the redeployment of their mobile workforces, leading with empathy and understanding that not all expatriates will be ready or willing to go abroad.”


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