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Nairobi trails Kampala in best global cities ranking

Kampala skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kampala skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kampala has improved in a global survey of the best cities to live in, eclipsing Nairobi that has stagnated in the latest ranking of capitals offering quality life.

New York-based consultancy Mercer, in its 2018 quality of living survey, ranks Kenya’s capital at position 186 out of 231 cities. Nairobi held the same position last year.

Uganda’s Kampala was ranked ahead of Nairobi at position 172, having improved by one position to cement its score as East Africa’s best city to live in.

To rank the cities, the survey examined the levels of traffic congestion, quality of public transport, electricity supply and banking services.

Other indicators include crime levels, education, political stability, housing, food availability and entertainment.

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Rwanda’s Kigali came in third behind Kampala and Nairobi at position 190, having improved two positions, while Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam stagnated at position 199.

The ranking offers a sneak preview of a country’s level of development and the city’s ability to attract and retain investors, expatriates and tourists.

It also guides multinationals in their assessment of the pay for their staff in different countries in which they have operations.

“Factors such as climate, disease and sanitation standards, ease of communications, and physical remoteness can often affect the success of a foreign assignment,” says the report that was released last week.

“Moreover, the local political and social environment, political violence, and crime may give rise to potentially uncomfortable, inconvenient, or even dangerous situations. To encourage mobility, reliable information is needed to help calculate fair, consistent expatriate compensation for hardship locations.”

Kenya is the largest economy in East Africa with Nairobi looking to cement its position as the hub of the region.

But it continues to grapple with poor roads, traffic jams, unstable electricity supply and garbage collection that have removed some shine off Nairobi’s appeal.

Port Louis of Mauritius emerged Africa’s best city to live in after being ranked at position 83 globally followed by South Africa’s Durban and Cape Town.

Globally, Vienna emerged top for nine years in a row, followed by Zurich while the bottom is Baghdad in Iraq.

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