Each year, the Cost of the Living report finds that specific factors such as currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices, are essential to determining the cost of expatriate packages for employees on international assignments.
In Africa, Victoria, Seychelles (14) is ranked highest city while Tunis in Tunisia (209) ranks as the least expensive city in the region and globally. Ndjamena, Chad (15), follows Seychelles, dropping four places from its ranking as the most expensive city in Africa, last year (11).
In comparison with last year’s report, some African countries like Harare, Zimbabwe, Niamey in Niger, and Cairo, Egypt have gone up 188 to 165, 149 to 116, and 166 to 126, respectively.
Further, Luanda, Angola has seen a significant increase in exchange rates while Cairo, Egypt and Tunis, Tunisia, have experienced a drop. Djibouti, Djibouti (58) has no difference in exchange rates.
According to Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey, Hong Kong tops the list of most expensive cities for expatriates, followed by Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in the second position. Tokyo and Zurich remain in third and fourth positions, respectively, whereas Singapore is in fifth, down two places from last year. New York City ranked sixth, moving up from the ninth place. Mercer’s data was collected in March; price variances in many locations were not significant due to the pandemic.
Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer’s costliest cities for expatriates are Shanghai (7), Bern (8), Geneva (9), and Beijing (10). The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to Mercer’s survey, are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), Tashkent and Bishkek, which tied to rank 206.
Mercer’s survey shows that costs of goods and services shift with inflation and currency volatility making overseas assignment costs sometimes greater and sometimes smaller. Therefore, properly vetting locations and compensating employees on international assignments is important.
Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed.