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Lagos, Abuja Ranked Among Africa’s Least Expensive Cities


Mercer’s cost-of-living rankings for 2024 have been released with Lagos and Abuja emerging as Africa’s second and third least expensive cities respectively.

The index, released on Sunday, reveals that Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic,  is Africa’s most expensive city for international workers, with Djibouti and N’Djamena following closely behind.

The report says, “African cities that placed highest in the global Cost of Living City Ranking are Bangui (14, up 12 places), Djibouti (18) and N’Djamena (21). The least expensive cities in the region include Blantyre (221), Lagos (225, down 178 places) and Abuja (226).

“Between 2023 and 2024, the most significant increases in living costs were seen in cities in Africa (Accra, Addis Ababa and Cairo), Eastern Europe (Tirana) and Eastern Europe (Istanbul).“

Photograph: Sanwo-Olu/

Mercer’s annual report assesses living costs across 2261 cities worldwide, focusing on factors such as inflation, exchange-rate fluctuations, and local economic conditions.

The rankings provide crucial insights for global mobility operations and international assignees navigating diverse cost-of-living environments.

“Bangui’s ascent to the top of the list reflects the region’s economic challenges and the impact on living expenses,” stated a Mercer spokesperson.

“Meanwhile, Lagos and Abuja’s affordability is influenced by currency depreciations and lower overall living costs compared to global standards.”

A statement issued by Mercer says inflation and geopolitical instability have contributed to varying living costs globally.

While cities like Hong Kong and Singapore maintain their positions as the world’s most expensive due to high housing and transportation costs, cities such as Lagos and Abuja benefit from relatively lower expenses amidst currency fluctuations.

Analysts say the disparity in living costs between Bangui and cities like Lagos highlights the economic diversity across Africa.

Beyond Africa, Mercer’s report also highlights significant trends in other regions. European cities dominate the top ranks for expensive places to live, with London joining the top 10 list this year.

Meanwhile, Dubai has surged as the Middle East’s most costly city for international employees, reflecting rapid economic growth and heightened living standards.

The study also includes an analysis of price trends for everyday items, revealing notable increases across various cities, particularly in commodities like olive oil, highlighting the ongoing impact of inflation on consumer goods.

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