Uncle Sam comes to the rescue of Nairobi’s US embassy staff and shields them from the city's harsh economic reality with a fat per diem

City hall where Nairobi County government offices are located
  • Effective from April 2019, Nairobi US embassy staff allowances have jumped 3.67 per cent to $339 (about Sh34,239.34) from the $327 (about Sh33,027.33).
  • Nairobi’s rates are significantly higher than those of many western capitals including Ottawa’s $316 (about Sh31,916.32).
  • Two years ago, the city was rated as Africa’s fourth most expensive city to live in a cost of living index for world cities by Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator.

The staff working at the United States embassy in Nairobi are a happy lot.

This is because ‘Uncle Sam’ has come to their aid and decided to rescue them from Nairobi’s economic hardship. The US government has raised the per diem rates for its employees in Nairobi.

Per diem is intended to compensate employees for extra expenses incurred when on assignments away from their duty stations.

The maximum per diem rates for foreign countries are based on costs reported in the Hotel and Restaurant Survey submitted by US government posts in foreign areas,” said the US State Department in the update.

Effective from April 2019, Nairobi US embassy staff allowances have jumped 3.67 per cent to $339 (about Sh34,239.34) from the $327 (about Sh33,027.33).

Nairobi’s rates are significantly higher than those of many western capitals including Ottawa’s $316 (about Sh31,916.32), signalling Nairobi’s standing as one of Africa’s and the world's most expensive capitals to work and live in.

Two years ago, the city was rated as Africa’s fourth most expensive city to live in a cost of living index for world cities by Expatistan, an online cost of living calculator.

Nairobi’s rate is higher than Kigali’s which stands at $289 (about Sh29,189.29) and Dar es Salaam at about $309 (about Sh31209.31). Uganda (Kampala) per diem which stands at $340 (about Sh34,340.34) is the only one which ranks higher than Nairobi in the region.

Nairobi has been ranked in the same group as Asian and European capitals, including Beijing $346 (about Sh34,946.35) and Berlin at $338 (about Sh34,138.34).

Paris at $580 (about Sh58,580.58) and Venice in Italy at $519 (about Sh52,419.52) rank as the most expensive European capitals. Tokyo is at $507 (Sh51,207.51) and London $482 (Sh48,682.48).

The rates were published by the US State Department.

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