It’s really expensive for Africans to live in their own cities
Thursday, November 15, 2018
By Yinka Adegoke
For the last decade or so, lists of the world’s most expensive cities usually include London, Hong Kong, perhaps New York, and then at least one African city—recently it’s been Luanda, Angola or an unexpected city like N’Djamena, Chad.
These reports by international firms are focused on expatriate corporate executives, and their calculations often include luxuries like personal drivers and security, with a corporate expense account to take care of the details. Of course, that utterly ignores the reality of a vast majority of citizens face in fast-growing African cities. Trying to explain Lagos is an expensive city by comparing the price of a martini with the price of one in Manhattan might be a fun exercise—but it provides little insight into how ordinary Lagosians live.
A team of World Bank economists dug into price levels, and found goods and services consumed by urban households in sub-Saharan African countries are 25%-28% more expensive than in other low- and middle-income countries, based on purchasing power parity.
Photo courtesy of Leander Wattig.