African Union forces close military outpost in Mogadishu – The

Mogadishu university ranking in africa

A heavy traffic jam on University Way in Nairobi on March 3, 2017. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

If you are an expatriate and have the luxury of choosing the country to be deployed to, you may as well pick Vienna, the capital of Austria.

But one can see why the Austrian capital offers quality life. The country is rich in history and art, offering a vibrant culture scene; its rents and public transport costs are relatively cheap compared with those in other Western capitals.

In Africa, only five cities, three of them in South Africa, feature in the top 100 ranking of quality living.

Durban is ranked highest in quality of living in Africa and is ranked 87th globally, closely followed by Cape Town at 94 and Johannesburg at 96.

Durban is friendly for expatriates because it offers easy access to properties, permits, international schools and unusual services like where to get prescription drugs for pets. The city has an online community for international workers where they share experiences and recommend places to get good service.

Expatriates also look at a city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports.

It is in these qualities that many cities in East Africa fail. Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam suffer frequent power outages, along with some of the worst traffic gridlocks on the continent, with Nairobi residents spending almost six hours a day in traffic, costing the economy $370 million annually.

The Economist’s Africa correspondent Daniel Knowles wrote recently.

Garbage scavengers look for reusable or recyclable material through a dump in Bamako, Mali on March 8, 2017. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Such indeed is the life of many expatriates who have moved to Kenya. Take Jacky Habib, a journalist from Canada attached to a media house in Nairobi as an Aga Khan Foundation fellow. She has resorted to using boda boda (motorcycle taxi) to beat traffic to and from work. On weekends, she uses the cab hailing service Uber, because a number of locations in Nairobi are not properly served by the public vehicle service.

Cities in East Africa also lack efficient public transport systems with none of them having a light commuter train service, a popular and inexpensive means of transport in developed and recently many visionary developing countries.

In Nairobi, Kampala and other East African cities, the common means of transport for the urban middle class are loosely regulated minibus taxis that run on no schedule or fixed fare.

Nairobi’s commuter train system is nothing near world class. It only serves one side of the city, is slow by any international standards and only makes four trips a day — two in the morning and two in the evening — with no guarantee of reliability.

Kigali in Rwanda, has some semblance of order in its traffic management, but its public transport is insufficient. The city is clean, security is commendable by the region’s standards but rents are high because of a scarcity of international standard housing.

All cities in East Africa suffer from water scarcity, and water service is one of the major criteria used by expatriates when ranking cities.

The world over, infrastructure is a big attraction not just for expatriates but also for local populations. According to the Mercer report, Singapore has the best infrastructure in the world, followed by the German cities of Frankfurt and Munich that tie in second place.

Singapore’s infrastructure is centuries ahead of that of countries in Africa as the country restricts the number of cars on its roads to control traffic and air pollution and encourages commuters to use bicycles and the public train. Taxis are a popular form of public transport as the fares are relatively cheap compared with those in other developed countries.

Dubai has a huge number of immigrants — although the almost six million people that come as workers cannot exactly be classified as expatriates — but its efficient public transport of bus and light train, makes commutes easy for both workers and tourists.

“Cities that rank high in the city infrastructure list provide a combination of top-notch local and international airport facilities, varied and extended coverage through their local transportation networks, and innovative solutions such as smart technology and alternative energy, ” said Slagin Parakatil, a principal researcher at Mercer responsible for the quality of living research.

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