Why Nairobi is East Africa’s most expensive capital city

A view of Nairobi.
Aerial view of a section of Nairobi. PHOTO/FILE
Nairobi is East Africa’s most expensive city to live in, according to a new global cost of living survey.

The Expatistan Cost of Living Index indicates that Nairobi residents are experiencing the highest cost of living in the region citing high cost of housing, transport and clothing.

The survey, which put Nairobi ahead of Johannesburg in list of expensive cities in Africa, serves as a guide for expatriates and tourists looking to move to various destinations.

“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 study says.

The Expatistan Cost of Living Index tracks prices of food, housing, clothes, transport, personal care and entertainment to compare cities.

The survey shows that rent in Nairobi’s leafy suburbs currently stands at an average of Sh152,165 monthly compared to Sh100,093 in the posh estates of Kampala. This makes Nairobi one of the most expensive cities in Africa to rent.

According to the survey, Nairobi is five per cent more expensive than Dar es Salaam, 18 per cent costlier than Bujumbura, 19 per cent higher than Kampala and 25 per cent pricier than Kigali.

The latest ranking is likely to reduce Kenya’s attractiveness to foreign investors, who must shoulder the burden of higher compensation for expatriate staff posted to Nairobi to cover the high cost of living.