The cost of living has continued to go up every month. In June 2022, the annual inflation soared to approximately 192 percent. This was up from about 132 percent in May. This has continuously fed the surge in prices of basic goods and services. Some experts have highlighted that these official inflation figures are shrunk. It is believed that annual inflation in Zimbabwe is well over 300 percent. In June 2022 the Food Poverty Line (FPL) for one person stood at ZWL$18 425. FPL represents the least amount of income one needs to be able to afford basic foodstuffs. This means a family of 6 in Zimbabwe now needs at least ZWL$110 550.

A Look At The Numbeo Cost Of Living Index

Numbeo is the largest cost of living database in the whole world. It is also a reliable source of crowd-sourced data on quality of life. In essence, its indexes are determined using user-contributed data on cities and nations worldwide. This is data sourced from verifiable sources such as websites of supermarkets, government institutions, newspapers, and applicable surveys, amongst others. The data is processed using over 30 intricate filters to produce valid information. They use algorithm-based heuristic software to achieve that.

What Is The Cost Of Living Index

Bear in mind that with regards to Numbeo, rentals or mortgages are excluded. Anyways, the cost of living index is defined as a relative indicator of consumer goods prices. Such consumer goods include items like food, utilities, and transport, amongst others. Bear in mind that Numbeo’s indices are relative to New York City. I should include a disclaimer that the actual figures may not be as accurate.

One of the factors is the complex currency and exchange rate issues in Zimbabwe. However, they give an appreciable picture of what will be obtained on the ground. The granularity of the data also depends on the number of entries made and the number of contributors. The more they are the finer the details become. Anyways, let us look at the top 10 African cities when it comes to the cost of living:

Africa Cost Of Living Index By City 2022 Mid-Year

RankCityIndex
1Addis Ababa

(Ethiopia)

43.73
2Dakar

(Senegal)

43.56
3Harare

(Zimbabwe)

42.68
4Johannesburg

(South Africa)

39.63
5Lagos

(Nigeria)

39.34
6Abidjan

(Ivory Coast)

38.91
7Gaborone

(Botswana)

38.75
8Pretoria

(South Africa)

38.46
9Durban

(South Africa)

37.85
10Cape Town

(South Africa)

37.45

Further Discussion On Harare’s Cost Living Index

Remember I mentioned that the Numbeo indices are relative to New York City. For example, currently, the cost of living in Harare is about 42 percent of the cost of living in New York. To put this in perspective Zimbabwean GDP per capita at December 2021 (US$1362.45) was 2.22% of the US GDP per capita (US$61280.39). The cost of living estimations derived for Zimbabwe is way over the reality of many. It just goes to show how dire the economic situation is in Zimbabwe.

Another interesting thing Numbeo noted is that Harare has the most expensive fuel (i.e. cost per litre). This is the number one position out of 30 African cities. Something worth noting also is the distribution of expenses as calculated by Numbeo. The breakdown is as follows:

Markets – 31.5 Percent

Rent Per Month – 19.2 Percent

Transportation – 15.8 Percent

Food – 14.7 Percent

Utilities – 10.4 Percent

So Harare (Zimbabwe) stands as having the 3rd highest cost of living in Africa. In a different indexing system, I saw somewhere Zimbabwe was ranked number 90 out of 197 nations on the cost of living. It was also positioned at number 136 in the best countries to live in. It was also established that the average salary for most Zimbabweans is only enough to cater for about 12 days. These indexes or positions do reflect the Zimbabwean situation but cannot fully capture the suffering on the ground. Given the current status of things, the cost of living in Zimbabwe is likely to rise more.