The value of money in Cairo

Nada Zaki , Friday 14 Jun 2019

Cairenes pay less than the residents of 55 other major cities worldwide to go out on dates, rent a flat, or fill their cars, according to a recent report by Deutsche Bank

Giza Pyramids
File Photo: Egyptians visit the Giza pyramids in the Greater Cairo area (AP)

Cairo comes in as the cheapest city of 55 capitals worldwide for someone to go out on a date, with five dates in Cairo costing the same as just one in Zurich.

Moreover, monthly transportation in Cairo costs one third of that in New York, and the cost of renting a mid-range two-bedroom apartment in Cairo is a 10th of what it costs in New York, according to a report on the cost and quality of life in 55 cities around the world prepared by the German Deutsche Bank.

Despite the fact that many Egyptians have been complaining about the rise in petrol prices since 2014, Cairo still ranks cheapest among the 55 cities to buy a litre of petrol.

Smokers in Cairo are also lucky, as they pay almost a quarter of what it costs to buy a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in New York.

The present report is the first time Egypt has been included in Deutsche Bank’s survey of global prices and living standards.

The report, released in late May, measures the quality of life in the cities according to criteria including the cost of healthcare, safety levels, petrol prices, the affordability of housing relative to average income, dating expenses, having a haircut and getting a new pair of shoes.

However, due to high customs and taxes, the cost of buying many imported items is high in Cairo, a fact that the report shows by ranking it the seventh most-expensive city to purchase a pair of high-end branded sport shoes, followed by Dubai, and the ninth most expensive to get a new IphoneX.

Loyal Apple customers will find the phone is 40 per cent more expensive than in New York.

While Egypt is trying to attract more tourists to boost its foreign currency resources, it comes out as the fifth most-expensive country for renting a five-star hotel room with a view, according to the report.

Cairo also comes at the bottom of the list on monthly incomes, with an average of $206 compared to an average of $6,500 in San Francisco, which is the highest among the 55 cities and even outdoes Zurich.

The five highest cities in terms of monthly income include four American ones in San Francisco, Boston, New York and Chicago.

Cairo also ranks last among the 55 cities surveyed in overall healthcare quality. The government is working on a universal healthcare system that is supposed to start in July in Port Said and should cover the whole of the country within five years.

As expected, Cairo ranked high in the traffic congestion sub-index, coming in at 44th in traffic commute time. But it fared better on safety levels, ranking the 39th safest of the 55 cities surveyed.

Deutsche Bank, also a financial services company that annually evaluates living standards, mapped prices based on “prices posted on the Internet” to compile the report.

“Much of our data is from sources that utilise crowdsourcing techniques to collect and aggregate price data,” the report said.

Cities in Europe and Australasia offer the world’s highest quality of life, with Zurich topping the list. Meanwhile, Lagos in Nigeria has the lowest quality of life, followed by Beijing and Manila in the Philippines.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 13 June, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Value for money in Cairo 

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