How the cost of living in SA compares to other countries
Cape Town is South Africa's most expensive city to live in, according to a new ranking of cities by their cost of living. Take heart, though, Capetonians and, in fact, South Africans in general - the nation barely features when it comes to the global list of 209 cities.
This year's 24th annual survey by Mercer, a New York-based human-resources consulting firm, shows that four of the five most expensive cities in the world in which to live are in Asia.
Hong Kong comes in at number one, reclaiming the dubious title from Angola's capital, Luanda, which ranked highest last year, but fell to sixth for 2018.
Tokyo comes in second place, followed by Zurich, Singapore and Seoul.While Luanda is Africa's most expensive city, on the global scale Cape Town comes in only at number 170, and Johannesburg at 177, well behind other cities on the continent such as Ndjamena, Chad (8th place), followed by Libreville, Gabon (18), Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (19), Kinshasa, DRC (37) and Lagos, Nigeria (42).
Some of those come in higher than cities we typically think of as expensive, such as London (19) and Dubai (26).Mercer's analysis is aimed at helping multinational organisations decide how to compensate their employees fairly when posting them abroad.
The survey takes into account housing as well as a 200-strong "international basket of goods and services" including transportation, food, clothing and entertainment.
The report found that housing-market instability and fluctuating inflation and currencies were impacting the cost of doing business in cities around the world.
But where in the world is cheapest? The Uzbek capital of Tashkent is at the bottom of the list in 209th place, with Tunis, Tunisia (208), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (207) and Banjul, The Gambia (206) just above.
Luanda's place near the top is put down to its status in a developing economy where accommodation, locally produced goods and competing services such as taxis and cellphone providers are in short supply. Security and the cost of importing goods add to the expense.
A 27-year civil war destroyed much of Luanda's basic infrastructure, which means that a large percentage of food and goods need to be imported.