Kinshasa Is Most Expensive City To Live For Expats


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.

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

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.

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

Rank City Country
1 Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Geneva Switzerland
4 Basel Switzerland
5 Bern Switzerland
6 Freetown Sierra Leone
7 Tokyo Japan
8 Luanda Angola
9 Hong Kong Hong Kong
10 Shanghai China
11 Beijing China
12 Yokohama Japan
13 Nagoya Japan
14 Osaka Japan
15 Guangzhou China
16 Tashkent Uzbekistan
17 Seoul Korea Republic
18 Singapore Singapore
19 Conakry Guinea
20 Oslo Norway

Source: ECA International