World's Most Expensive City Is ... Luanda?

Civil war has led to staggering prices in Angola's capital
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2012 6:18 PM CST
The center of Luanda is seen in this 2008 file photo.   (Getty Images/AFP)

(Newser) – If you thought the most expensive city in the world was someplace like London or New York, wait until you get a load of the prices in Luanda, Angola. A house will set you back $10,000 a month, a hotel room $400 a night, and an SUV rental $200 a day, the BBC reports. And don't even ask about the food—tomatoes cost more than $7 a pound. Beef costs more than $20 per pound—"and that is frozen, not even fresh," one resident complains. Luanda has been the most expensive city for expatriates two years in a row in one major survey.

"We didn't know quite how expensive it was until we really came here and experienced it," the resident says. So why is it like this? Well, Angola was racked by civil war from 1975 to 2002—and that wiped out most of its infrastructure. Now a country that was once self-sufficient in most foods must import 80% of its consumable goods. At the same time, expatriates are sweeping back into the country, thanks to the booming oil and construction sectors, sending home prices soaring. (Read more Luanda stories.)

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