Lagos, Abuja Become World’s Cheapest Cities For Foreign Workers — Report

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Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria’s commercial and political capitals have been ranked the world’s least expensive cities for expatriates, according to the 2024 Mercer cost of living survey.

The significant depreciation of the Naira has been identified as the primary factor for this ranking, making living costs for international workers more affordable.

The report attributes the Naira’s decline to reforms introduced by President Bola Tinubu, which ended the long-standing currency peg implemented by former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.

As a result, Lagos and Abuja experienced the most significant drops in the cost of living rankings among 226 global cities between 2023 and 2024.

Despite Nigeria’s soaring inflation rate currently at 33.95% with food inflation over 40%, the depreciation has made these cities cheaper for expatriates.

In 2023, Lagos was the 47th most expensive city globally, while Abuja was ranked 140th. This year, Lagos plummeted 173 spots to 225th, and Abuja fell to 226th.

The survey notes, “Currency devaluations have been a significant driver of these decreases. The currency-induced falls in the cost of living for international assignees have happened even though inflation in many of these countries has risen.”

The survey further highlights that between March 2023 and March 2024, inflation rates increased by more than 20% in both Nigeria and Angola.

In contrast, the most expensive cities for international assignees are predominantly in Western Europe, with Switzerland housing four of them. However, Hong Kong and Singapore lead the list, ranking first and second, respectively.

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In Africa, Lagos and Abuja are the cheapest cities, with Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, rising 12 places to 14th globally. Djibouti and N’Djamena follow closely, ranking 18th and 21st, respectively.

Conversely, Blantyre, Lagos, and Abuja are among the least expensive African cities, ranked 221st, 225th, and 226th globally.

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