Luanda as the most expensive city in Africa has an overall cost of living index of 131.69 compared to New York with an index of 100, and Tokyo with an index of 139.89. Luanda’s cost of living index is similar to cities such as Hong Kong, Caracas, and Yokohama.
Luanda is the most expensive city because most agriculture, manufacturing and basic services stopped and basic infrastructure including roads, railways, electricity lines and water supplies were badly damaged during the long civil war between 1975 and 2002. Before the civil war Angola was a major exporter of products like coffee and cotton, and was mostly food self-sufficient. Today Angola imports approximately 80% of its consumer goods.
While you can shop around to find better prices, most expatriates by groceries form international shops as the quality and hygiene may be risky at local shops. Until it becomes cheaper to make products locally the high cost of importing consumer goods will continue.
It is hoped that in the near future the extremely high rental costs will decrease when more housing becomes available and the gap between supply and demand for rental accommodation reduced.
In Luanda the benchmark price for an international brand of men’s jeans is $113, men’s leather shoes suitable for office wear $188 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is $178. Groceries are very expensive. For example in a major international retail store 1 kg apples costs on average $10.03, oranges $12.54, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast $15.05, and 1 kg cheddar cheese $20.69. Eating out is also extremely expensive. A cappuccino (regular, medium) averages $4.37, coke/pepsi (330ml) $3.87, burger meal (international franchise or similar) $13.82, and a meal out (for 2 mid-range restaurant) $85.94. Rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is $7,103 on average in a central location, and $3,611 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.
To provide an assignee, sent from a low cost of living country to a more expensive country, with a similar purchasing power to what they have in their home country, requires an adjustment to their assignment salary. The amount of adjustment depends on which country they come from. The larger the difference in cost of living, the larger the adjustment required to ensure a similar level of purchasing power in the host country.
Xpatulator’s Cost of Living rankings are released every quarter and measure the comparative cost of living for expatriates in 780 cities, covering every country worldwide. The cost of 13 basket groups with over 140 items are compared in each location, these include alcohol and tobacco, clothing, communication, education, furniture and appliances, groceries, healthcare, housing, personal care, recreation and culture, restaurants-meals-out and hotels, and transport.
For the full listing and more information on the Cost of Living Rankings in Africa, go here.