Market News

US increases Nairobi per diem to Sh34,000

A section of Nairobi City
A section of Nairobi City. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The United States has raised the per diem rates for its employees in Nairobi, signalling the city’s standing as one of Africa’s most expensive capitals to work and live in.

The city’s allowances effective this April have jumped 3.67 percent to $339 (about Sh34,239.34) from the $327 (about Sh33,027.33).

Nairobi’s rates are significantly higher than those of many western capitals including Ottawa’s $316 (about Sh31,916.32).

The rate also places Nairobi higher than Kigali at $289 (about Sh29,189.29) and Dar es Salaam at about $309 (about Sh31209.31). Uganda (Kampala) at $340 (about Sh34340.34) ranks higher than Nairobi though.

They rank Nairobi in the same group as Asian and European capitals, including Beijing $346 (about Sh34,946.35) and Berlin at $338 (about Sh34,138.34).


Paris at $580 (about Sh58,580.58) and Venice in Italy at $519 (about Sh52,419.52) rank as the most expensive European capitals. Tokyo is at $507 (Sh51,207.51) and London $482 (Sh48,682.48).

The rates were published by the US State Department.

Per diem is intended to compensate employees for extra expenses incurred when on assignments away from duty station.

“The maximum per diem rates for foreign countries are based on costs reported in the Hotel and Restaurant Survey submitted by US government posts in foreign areas,” said the US State Department in the update.

Two years ago Nairobi was rated as Africa’s fourth most expensive city to live in a cost of living index for world cities.

The report published by Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator, placed Nairobi behind Harare, Port Louis and Pretoria.

The Kenyan capital hosts various international organisations including UN Habitat.

Monthly rent in a leafy Nairobi suburb averages Sh173,704 and the cost of Internet per month at a speed of 8Mbps stands at Sh4,447, nearly half of what residents of Harare pay.

A 2018 report by property consultants Knight Frank said the global super-rich are flocking to Nairobi to snap up additional luxury homes that sell from Sh80 million.