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Cost of living a struggle even for the well off

As a young, professional woman it’s embarrassing to admit that I’m starting to appreciate the generosity of male suitors.

Just recently I was sitting at one of Nairobi’s most recognised cafés, enjoying a drink with an Italian friend when the bill came.

I was mildly relieved when he offered to pay for us though he was pretty shocked.

Having come from the developed world to a country that exports some of the best coffee in the world, he had expected the cost of a cup of coffee to be at least half the price of one in Italy, not double.

Born and raised in Nairobi I’ve watched this steep rise in prices with trepidation.

Just recently Nairobi was recognised by the Economist Intelligence Unit as being Africa’s second most expensive city after Lagos, Nigeria.

The survey found that Nairobi is particularly expensive for the middle and upper class residents.

Many of the more affluent members of our society are now struggling to keep up with the rising costs.

I remember being able to go out with Sh1,000 in my pocket. That would buy me a couple of drinks and pay for my taxi ride back home. Today the cost is at least triple that and nothing has changed.

Housing benefits

The drink tastes the same, the bar, even though it isn’t the dingiest joint in town, has the same slipping toilet seat.

Consider this; according to InterNations.com Nairobi’s expats spend up to a third of their income on rent.

However, they are fortunate to have large housing benefits and therefore this may not be such an issue for them. It’s the rest of us on developing country salaries with first world prices that are suffering to keep up.

So ladies, be kind to that man buying you that lovely meal. It’s costing him and saving you more than you know.