Kinshasa Is Most Expensive City To Live For Expats


Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked as the costliest city in the world ahead of close to 200 global locations.

Expat workers in some exotic locations have found to their surprise they are living in some of the most expensive cities in the world, according to a new survey.

Once famous for Muhammed Ali’s classic rumble in the jungle against heavyweight rival George Foreman, now the city is known for all the wrong reasons.

Expat benefit firm ECA International says the country’s badly performing currency – the Congolese franc – and a fall in demand for mined raw materials such as copper and cobalt have all contributed to the city’s high cost of living.

The survey compares the local cost of a basket of everyday goods and services in each city.

Corruption, bribes and crime

“The items that expats on assignment want to buy are expensive in Kinshasa because of several reasons,” said an ECA International spokesman.

“Importing and transporting goods is expensive because they are not available locally and the infrastructure needed to move them around is not good. Corruption is rife, which means everyone expects bribes and the crime rate is high.”

Other high ranking African cities include Freetown, Sierra Leone (6) and Luanda, Angola (8).

The value of the franc pulled several cities in Switzerland into the other top positions.

Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Burn were behind Kinshasa in second to fifth places.

Find out best places in Africa with our Top 10 African Countries for British Expats guide.

Costliest global cities

Japan (7) took top spot for the Asia Pacific.

Manhattan, New York was the most expensive place in North America, coming in at 21.

Israel had the highest cost of living in the Middle East. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem came in at 22 and 23.

Port au Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, snatched the highest placing in South America and the Caribbean at 105.

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, is the most expensive place in Asia for expats at 16 in the listings.

More on expat lifestyle in global cities

Top 20 most expensive expat cities

1KinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
6FreetownSierra Leone
9Hong KongHong Kong
17SeoulKorea Republic

Other Destination Insights

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2 thoughts on “Kinshasa Is Most Expensive City To Live For Expats”

  1. I don’t believe this survey. Washington city for instance is far, very far most expensive compare to Kinshasa and most of the african cities. A quick look on some items:
    Barber shop 2$ and 12$, dinner 6$ and 35 $, covid test 30$ and 250$, taxi from airport to downtown, 35$ and 70$.
    Dear Martin, please go back and redo your survey.

  2. Quite surprised as I’m living in Kinshasa for 2 years after : Casablanca, Brazzaville, Luanda, Roma, Braunchsweig and Djibouti. For me, the most costly was Luanda.

    May be it depends on How you live !


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