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Congo Democratic Rep, Kinshasa

Congo Democratic Rep, Kinshasa

Cost of living in Kinshasa, prices and what it is like to live for an Expat, quality of life / hardship, and compare cost of living for Expatriates as at July 2023.

What is it like to live in Kinshasa?

Kinshasa: Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Economy: Kinshasa ties with Johannesburg for the status of the second largest city in sub-Saharan Africa and the third largest in the whole continent after Lagos and Cairo. Because the administrative boundaries cover such a vast area, over 60% of the city's land is rural in nature, and the urban area only occupies a small section in the far western end of the province.

Inflation: 26.67% for the Republic of the Congo as at May 2023.

Kinshasa Population: 11.9 Million (Urban) (2022 est.)

Expat Life: In the DRC, business culture is influenced by French traditions. French is the language of business. Expatriate dress code is relatively formal. Official corruption is institutionalised. Expatriates should be aware that they will encounter requests for presents. The Congolese tend to keep their phones switched on even during meetings and do not consider it rude to take calls during a meeting. Expatriate businesswomen may find their local (mostly male) counterparts may not respect them in business negotiations, however there is respect for job titles which should be clearly established in advance. A permit is required if you plan to take photographs. The safety risk for expatriates in the DRC is high to extreme in different areas. Risks include petty crime, violent crime, and armed robberies. Armed groups operate in the eastern provinces, it is not advisable to travel there. Other risks include poor road conditions, health standards and internal air travel, which does not meet international standards.

Health Care: Health care care is extremely limited. Health care evacuation is often necessary. Isolated outbreaks of Ebola virus disease have occurred occasionally. Cholera has been reported.

For other areas within the country see Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Kinshasa?

The cost of living for expatriates in Kinshasa as at July 2023 is high in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 74.05 (New York =100). We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Kinshasa is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is very low for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$470. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$8.87, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.48, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.38 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$3.45.

2) Clothing: Cost is average for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$860. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$38, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$101, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$109 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$36.

3) Communication: Cost is very high for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$296. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$135, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$37.62 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is high for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30,000 in New York costs USD$29700. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$19,382 for Primary School, and USD$21,569 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is high for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2,500 in New York costs USD$2150. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$711, and USD$611 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is high for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$850. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$3.66, 1 kg oranges USD$3.01, 1 head lettuce USD$1.64, 1 kg potatos USD$2.21, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$4.21, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$10.30, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.07, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.64, 1 L full cream milk USD$4.83, and 1.5 L water USD$1.07.

7) Healthcare: Cost is average for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$660. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$53, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,642.

8) Household Accommodation: Cost is average for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5,000 in New York costs USD$2600. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$3,743 in a central location, and USD$2,030 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is average for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$355. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$6.93, while an international newspaper is USD$2.13.

10) Personal Care: Cost is average for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$350. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$28, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$140.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is high for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$395. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$7.17, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$94 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is average for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$640. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.05, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.91, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$11.17, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$34.96.

13) Transport: Cost is average for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$860. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$3.66, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$20,553.

How does the cost of living in Kinshasa compare?

Kinshasa is 16.6% more expensive than Houston TX for groceries, 124.8% more expensive for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 18.7% more expensive for transport costs than Dubai.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Kinshasa?

Kinshasa is ranked as an extreme hardship location.The hardship premium for Kinshasa for an expat from Perth, is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Kinshasa) premium of 40% minus home (Perth) location premium of 10%.

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