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Think Dubai's expensive? Try Angola

Expats don’t realise just how good they have it in the UAE, says Daniel Shane

If there’s one thing I dislike about Dubai it’s those expats who constantly grumble about “the good old days”. You know, the type who get misty-eyed over when Sheikh Zayed Road only had two lanes and the World Trade Centre towered over everything else in the city.

In the last year or so – coinciding with the revival in the emirate’s real estate market – they’ve been joined by another breed of moaning expats - those who like to complain about how expensive everything is supposedly getting. Chief among these gripes have been property rental costs and the price of food (mainly imported Western brands), which – admittedly - have gone up a bit.

For them, Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey 2013 will make for interesting reading. Out of the top ten most expensive cities in the world for expats, Dubai did not feature. Nor did any city in the Gulf, or indeed the Middle East.

Topping the list was little known Luanda, the capital of Angola in southern Africa. An oil boom in the country has seen the number of expats soar, but a lack of facilities is causing costs to spiral. Want to rent a three-bedroom house? That’ll be $15,000 per month. How about a hamburger meal? $20 a go.

According to Mercer, Dubai was judged a cheaper option than Moscow, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo or a number of other world class cities.

That’s not to mention the tax free salaries, year-round sunshine and entertainment facilities we all enjoy.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how good we have it, eh?

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Posted by: Mike Janic

Nice article, but you can't just compare the UAE to Hong Kong in this regard. HK has a higher number of crimes, it's hard to find a good-paying job or available vacancies there, beside the language and cultural barriers.

Posted by: Maroosha

Shane, it's not only the housing rentals and food prices, health care and education fees are way too high. I doubt that you have children, you will know exactly what we are talking about here once you do.

Posted by: Ronald

This hack is clearly rather new to the privileges of expat life and has no idea how the deal works. Angola is what used to be known as a hardship post, thus the perks, whereas Dubai attracts every last layabout who can't make it at home, the old Hong Kong FILTH syndrome (Failed in London, try Hong Kong).

Posted by: Someone

Couldn't have said it better! Completely agree

Posted by: Mazen

Expats complain no matter what they get!
My motto is "There are several flights daily to your home country!"
And please don't tell me how the GCC will collapse without you because there are thousands of your countrymen willing to come take your place.
That is all...

Posted by: desert_rodeo

Mazen, I couldn?t agree with you more. I have always wondered which fool decided to set up a process called ?interviewing? for a job vacancy. There is absolutely no need for that. As per your conclusion, there are 1000s of people willing to fill up a post. Kick an employee out who?s been working with you for a couple of years and grab the next person of the same nationality to take his/her place. Simple! I wonder why any company?s HR Department takes such a long time to fill vacancies.
I also wonder why any company or a country for that matter is battling with a phenomenon called ?brain drain? and doing everything in their power to stop it from happening. I ought to send your conclusions to these companies and countries.
We need more intelligent people like you around to enable countries and companies develop much quicker.

Posted by: AlwaysInsightfulCommentsHere

I am sitting right now with the CEO of one of the largest Saudi companies trying to work out an operating model that will allow them to attract the kind of talent they need to grow in the next 5 years... Maybe we should include you in our discussion as you seem to have the answers to our questions

Posted by: ben

a point you are conviniently missing is that many expats who go to Angola are provided a VERY generous package that is well into the six figure range. This is unlike Dubai where packages can range from a few thousand to several hundred thousand depending on your nationality and experience.

In Angola expect free housing, a driver and unlimted use of an offroad SUV , full home service (maids, Nannies etc), subsidized international calls and internet, full school allowance.
Its only natural that the locals want a slice of the pie and wanting anything imported is going to cost you, regardless where you live in the world.

If everyone in Dubai was on par and offered a package like that, I can assure you nobody would complain.

Posted by: Mark X

Ben, well spoken. On the button.

Daniel Shane: lets have the missing information from you as your comments tell only half the picture.

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