Economy

Nairobi best city in Africa, 12th globally

city

Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi's CBD. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

Expatriates have ranked Kenya’s capital Nairobi the best city to work in on the continent, jumping 50 places from last year, due to ease of settling and finding houses.

The Expat City Ranking 2021 shows Nairobi also ranks 12 out of 57 cities surveyed in the world, an improvement from 62 out of 66 in 2020.

Nairobi beat other African cities — Cape Town (41), Cairo (52), and Johannesburg (55).

The survey carried out by a global network of expatriates, InterNations, shows the expatriates picked the city due to ease in getting settled at fourth position globally, after Malaga, Mexico City and Kuala Lumpur based on friendliness of locals, feeling welcomed and local language.

The city was also ranked sixth globally in the finance and housing index based on overall satisfaction with their financial situation, disposable income and affordability and ease of finding houses.

“All three African cities featured rank among the bottom 10 in the quality of urban living and urban work life indices — except for Nairobi, which lands in 34th place in the latter index. Nairobi also outperforms the other cities when it comes to the ease of getting settled, as well as finances and housing,” the survey stated.

The ranking surveyed 12,420 respondents in 57 cities.

InterNations, the largest community of expatriates, has more than four million members in 420 cities.

The latest survey analysed five areas of expatriate life — quality of urban towns, getting settled, work-life balance, finance, housing and cost of living, to reveal the likely city of choice for expats to move to in 2022.

This year’s ranking has been a turnaround from a similar one in November last year when Nairobi was faulted for the quality of the city and poor public transportation infrastructure despite attractive local climate and weather.

Last year, the expatriates had shown dissatisfaction with their safety, political stability and local economy pushing Nairobi among top-bottom cities, among Johannesburg, Paris and Milan.

This year’s improvement in ranking comes despite intense ongoing construction in the city including the Nairobi Expressway that has disrupted traffic since the start of the year.

As a result, 36 percent of expats were unhappy with the local transportation infrastructure poor maintenance of roads.

The Expat City Ranking 2021 quotes that four in five expats in Nairobi representing 78 percent said the local residents were friendly compared to 69 percent globally.

About 62 percent find it easy to make new friends against 48 percent globally.

“Expats in Nairobi agree. 74 percent are happy with their social life, 17 percentage points more than the global average 57 percent,” it added.

About 82 percent of the expats have no trouble finding houses compared to 60 percent globally. Close to half the respondents representing 49 percent find housing affordable compared to 42 percent globally.

One in five expats globally (19 percent) are dissatisfied with their financial situation, this is only the case for nine percent of expats in Nairobi.

However, Nairobi ends up in the bottom 10 in the quality of urban living index at 50 due to availability and quality of medical care.

“Nairobi’s performance in the urban work life index (34th) is an interesting mix: the city ranks 49th worldwide for the state of the local economy (30 percent unhappy against 19 percent globally) but 9th for overall job satisfaction 73 percent happy against 68 percent globally,” the survey stated.

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