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Economy

Rent, clothes prices make Nairobi most expensive city in EA

An aerial view of the Nairobi central business district. PHOTO | FILE
An aerial view of the Nairobi central business district. PHOTO | FILE  

Nairobi is 19 per cent more expensive to live in than Kampala, a global cost of living survey says, citing higher costs of clothes, housing and transport in the Kenyan capital.

Expatistan Cost of Living Index shows that residents in Nairobi are experiencing the highest cost of living in East Africa while those in Kigali are the least exposed.

The rankings, which put Nairobi ahead of Johannesburg in expensive cities, serve as a guide for expatriates and tourists looking to move to different destinations.

“For example, you would need at least Sh422,874 in Nairobi to maintain the same standard of living that you can have with Sh355,113 in Kampala,” the survey says, showing a cost difference of Sh67,761.

The survey tracks prices of food, housing, clothes, transport, personal care and entertainment to compare cities.

Rent in Nairobi’s posh estates, popular with working expats, stand at an average of Sh152,165 monthly compared to Sh100,093 in the upmarket exurbs of Kampala, the report shows.

This puts Kenya’s monthly rent in exurbs the most expensive in Africa.

A pair of men’s leather business shoes costs Sh7,857 on average in Kenya’s capital, which is double the price in Kampala at Sh3,875, making Nairobi’s prices the most expensive on the continent.

The East African city has also the highest rates for gym membership in Africa, alongside appointment with a private doctor, pointing to cash pressures on Kenyan residents compared to their regional counterparts.

Nairobi’s high cost of living could help multinational companies, United Nations agencies and diplomatic missions justify high salaries they pay employees stationed in the city.

The study could also inform Nairobi’s ability to attract and retain foreign investment, expatriates and tourists based on costs.

A branded summer dress in an upmarket store in Nairobi costs Sh5,000 compared to Sh2,660 in Uganda’s capital, which has for the past 10 years been the largest market for Kenyan goods.

An 8-kilometre taxi ride in Nairobi costs an average of Sh1,568 compared to Sh1,202 in Kampala.

Nairobi is five per cent more expensive than Dar es Salaam, 18 per cent costlier than Bujumbura and 25 per cent higher than Kigali.

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