The Most Expensive Cities in Africa 2024


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The contrast between the local cost of living and the expatriate experience in Africa is stark. While the continent offers an array of opportunities and experiences, the financial aspect of living here can't be overlooked. Understanding the factors that contribute to the high cost of living in these cities can help expatriates prepare for their African adventure. Whether it's for work or the lure of experiencing life on this diverse continent, navigating the costs wisely can make all the difference.

The High Cost of Living the Expat Life in Africa 2024

Africa, a continent known for its diverse cultures and stunning landscapes, also presents a unique challenge for international professionals looking for the comforts of home. While it might be surprising, living in Africa can get pretty expensive for international professionals. Let's explore why and which cities are most expensive in 2024.

The Costly Conundrum

Despite Africa being home to some of the world's poorest countries with low local living costs, expats face a different reality. The lifestyle international workers are accustomed to comes at a high price here. Why? Well, it's mostly because of the need to import goods, secure safe housing, and access international standard schooling. All these factors drive up living costs significantly.

Monrovia: Africa's Priciest

Monrovia in Liberia is the continent's most expensive city for international workers. Globally, it ranks 35th, but to put that in context, with an overall cost of living index of 93, it is 7% cheaper than New York City. The reasons? A weak local currency and limited supply of goods and services make everything from housing to a carton of milk costlier than you might expect.

Libreville and N'Djamena

Not far behind Monrovia, Libreville in Gabon and N'Djamena in Chad take the second and third spots, respectively. With cost-of-living indices of 88 and 85, these cities reflect the broader trend in Africa: importing goods and maintaining an expat lifestyle comes at a premium.

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Nigeria: A Roller Coaster of Costs

Nigeria's cities have seen a roller coaster in living costs due to economic volatility. The government's decision to relax currency controls in June threw the Nigerian naira into a spiral, affecting everything from the cost of groceries to rent. This turbulence has placed cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Kano back among the most expensive in Africa for expatriates in 2024, after declining in global terms in late 2023 due to the weak exchange rate.

The 2024 Top Ten

Each city's high costs are influenced by various factors, including currency fluctuations, demand for international goods, and the need for secure living environments.

  1. Monrovia
  2. Libreville
  3. N'Djamena
  4. Lagos
  5. Abuja
  6. Kano
  7. Ibadan
  8. Addis Ababa
  9. Abidjan
  10. Conakry

Navigating the High Costs

Living in these African cities requires some savvy financial planning and a willingness to adapt. Expatriates often find themselves balancing the desire for comfort with the reality of high living expenses. Seeking local alternatives for goods, exploring different neighborhoods for more affordable housing, and tapping into the expat community for tips can all help manage the cost of living.

Use Xpatulator’s Cost of Living Calculators and Tools for informed decision-making about the cost of living and the salary / allowance / assignment package required to maintain the current standard of living.