According to the latest Quality of Life Survey, Kampala is ranked the best East African capital city to live, in a study by Mercer which surveyed 230 cities in the world.
Kampala is at position 169, followed by Nairobi (184), Kigali (191) while Dar es Salam managed 198.
This year’s study is the 18th annual quality of living ranking done by the New York-based consultation.
The firm ranked Vienna in Austria as the world’s best city to live and Baghdad, Iraq the worst.
Only two African cities made it in top 100
According to the report, top hundred cities were dominated by Europe, North America and East Asia.
However, only two African cities; Cape Town (92) and Johannesburg (95) made it to top 100.
For people who have travelled to Kigali and Nairobi, Kampala might appear at the bottom of the table because the former cities are far well planned compared to the latter.
However, Mercer’s study examines social and economic conditions, terrorism threats, education, health, housing and the environment in making the conclusions.
Additionally, personal safety in each of the countries was the first priority when ranking the capitals as it is considered a top issues for multinational companies sending employees abroad.
Speaking to the New Vision, Simon Kaheeru, a communication specialist at Ssiyaya Tours affirmed the claims by the report adding that “a city is about people, it is more than just infrastructure.”
He noted that Ugandans are always fantastic, polite and hospitable, making it the best city to live in.
"You can party in a club from morning to morning with people who you do not even know. You cannot move from place to place at night in other countries because of insecurity, not even in New York," Kaheeru says adding that, unlike in most cities, in Kampala one does not have to worry about being shot by random gunmen.
A businessman and chairperson of Kampala City Traders’ Association (KACITA), Everest Kayondo, also agreed that Kampala remains the best city to live in, New Vision reported. According to Kayondo, living in Kampala is cheaper compared to other cities in East Africa due to the cheap prices of food, shelter, electricity, and other basic commodities.
"Most of Uganda’s population practices agriculture, therefore food prices are low, but also one can easily change diet at a cheap price, unlike some east African cities where people live on a specific menu," he says, adding that the business community is hospitable and favorable for all.
Kampire Bahana argues in her blog that Kampala is home to more than 40 ethnic groups as well as a host of citizens of every nation bearing different titles; expatriate, refugee or immigrant. These diverse cultures have enabled Kampala to adopt to a variety of foods proffered in the multi-cultural city.
Big companies use the study to assess where they should locate and how much they should pay staff. In a statement, Mercer said that their "authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium. Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys provide valuable data as well as hardship premium recommendations for over 440 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 230 of these cities."
“Ensuring that the needs of expatriates and their families are met wherever work takes them is an essential part of talent retention and recruitment strategies for most multinationals,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer and responsible for the quality-of-living research.
“Managing safety and health issues is of utmost importance, especially for employees who relocate with a family. Our surveys enable companies to take adequate precautions for them."
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