International Cost of Living Calculators

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Rwanda, All Areas

Rwanda, All Areas

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

What is it like to live in Rwanda?

Climate: The climate is temperate with two rainy seasons, but mild in the mountains with frost and snow possible.

Language: The official languages are Kinyarwanda, English and French. English is the main international language in business circles. Taxi drivers, restaurant waiters and some hotel employees may be more comfortable in French rather than English. Younger Rwandans are somewhat more likely to speak English than their elders. Kiswahili is often used in commercial centres and by members of the military.

Religion: Christianity and indigenous beliefs.

Economy: The economy of Rwanda is primarily rural with about 90% of the population engaged in agriculture with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary exports are coffee and tea.

Inflation: 17.4% for Rwanda as at August 2023.

Money: The currency of Rwanda is the Rwandan Franc (RWF). ATMs are available in Kigali, but not all international cards are accepted. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

Tax: In Rwanda is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 30%.

Population: 12.9 Million (2022 est.)

Expat Life: Expatriate dress code in Rwanda is typically relatively casual. Expatriates seldom wear ties in Kigali, but on formal occasions a lightweight suit may be worn. The safety risk for expatriates in Rwanda is low, but medium on the borders with Burundi and the Congo (DRC). Risks include traffic accidents and street crime. Additional risks in the border areas, includes violence by militia and grenade attacks in public places.

Health Care: Health care facilities are limited. Serious or complex health care treatment may require evacuation which can be expensive. Malaria is present.

Rwanda covers all areas within the country other than Kigali.

Cost Of Living

What is the cost of living in Rwanda?

The cost of living for expatriates in Rwanda as at October 2023 is low in comparison to other places in the world, with an overall Cost of Living Index (COLI), for all 13 basket groups, of 50.02 (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 Rwanda is as follows:

1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: Cost is 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$630. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$13.62, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.13, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$1.86 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$1.99.

2) Clothing: Cost is very low for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1,000 in New York costs USD$420. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$19, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$33, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$43 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$26.

3) Communication: Cost is low 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$98. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$36, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$8.73 per minute.

4) Education: Cost is very low 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$10500. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$6,788 for Primary School, and USD$7,553 for High School.

5) Furniture & Appliances: Cost is average 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$2000. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$687, and USD$590 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.

6) Groceries: Cost is low 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$540. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$1.96, 1 kg oranges USD$1.04, 1 head lettuce USD$0.78, 1 kg potatos USD$0.27, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$3.33, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$2.37, 1 dozen large eggs USD$2.00, 500g loaf white bread USD$1.22, 1 L full cream milk USD$3.45, and 1.5 L water USD$0.87.

7) Healthcare: Cost is low 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$550. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$45, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,374.

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$2050. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,830 in a central location, and USD$1,519 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.

9) Miscellaneous: Cost is very low for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$215. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$4.23, while an international newspaper is USD$1.30.

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$325. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$26, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$130.

11) Recreation & Culture: Cost is very low for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$195. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$5.68, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$39 per month.

12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Cost is very low 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$320. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$2.74, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.88, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$9.09, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$34.06.

13) Transport: Cost is low 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$590. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$5.06, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$20,961.

How does the cost of living in Rwanda compare?

Rwanda is -31.7% cheaper than USA for groceries, -29.6% cheaper for household costs than UK, and 16.2% more expensive for transport costs than India.

What is the quality of life / hardship in Rwanda?

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

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