Most expensive developing country cities for expats and aid workers

By Lean Alfred Santos 13 July 2015

A view of the skyline Angola’s capital, Luanda, which is considered the world’s most expensive city for expatriates and international development workers. Photo by: Jens Aarstein Holm / CC BY-NC-ND

As the rise of emerging donors and the constant shift of development activities from the “global north” to the “global south” continue to change the international development landscape, international development practitioners are increasingly finding themselves posted in developing countries as well.

From multinational companies focused on mining, petroleum and manufacturing establishing branches in emerging markets, to the establishment of multilateral institutions in developing nations — such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS’ New Development Bank — living and working in developing country cities is fast-becoming a facet of globalization.

While traditional global cities like New York, London and Hong Kong continue to be the hub of international trade and development, African and Asian cities like Luanda, Angola and Shanghai are grabbing headlines not only because of their fast-growing economies but also their rising profile as some of the most expensive developing country cities to work and live in.

5 cities for development organizations to consider when expanding

Global development organizations are strategically expanding their presence in hubs across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Here are five developing world cities where organizations have experienced success.

What are some of the most expensive cities in the developing world for expatriates and development professionals? Devex compares the cost of living surveys released by international consulting firms ECA International and Mercer to find out.

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About the author

Lean 2
Lean Alfred Santos@DevexLeanAS

Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.

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