The Most Expensive City in the World...

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The most expensive
city in the world is not in the North America, or Europe, or even
the Middle East… it’s in Africa.

According to
an annual cost of living survey that is sponsored by international
HR consulting firm Mercer, the most expensive city in the world
is Luanda, Angola.

In case you’re
scrambling for an atlas right now, Angola is an oil rich country
on southern Africa’s Atlantic coast. It was a Portuguese territory
from the 1500s until independence in 1975, at which point it plunged
into a decades-long civil war between communist and anti-communist
factions.

Needless to
say, Angola was one of those unfortunate countries where the United
States and Soviet Union duked it out, supplying their respective
sides with money and munitions despite a UN prohibition against
arms deals in the country.

When the war
finally ended in 2002, the Angolan economy went bananas. Large multinationals
had already been drilling and producing in Angola’s rich offshore
blocks… but once peace was finally brokered, the economy really
blossomed.

Today, Angola
is a nation of significant economic contrast – though the government
is growing rich from oil revenue, the majority of locals live in
poverty on less than $1/day. For expats, though, costs are astronomical:

Three-star
hotel rooms start at $750/night, apartments run $7,000/month, a
silly cheeseburger can cost $30 or more, a haircut will set you
back $150. This is why Luanda tops the Mercer ratings.

Also making
an appearance in the Mercer survey’s top 10 are fellow African
cities of N’Djamena, Chad and Libreville, Gabon, each of which
is a costlier place for expats to live than London, Zurich, Vancouver,
or New York.

This sort of
price disparity is not unusual in Africa. Key cities are often severely
limited in supply of expat-quality products and services… there
might be only one hotel in the city with four walls and a ceiling,
running water, and a mattress devoid of insects.

Read
the rest of the article

July
14, 2010

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