How do you rate Addis Ababa as an expat destination

To rate a city, we have to ask in comparison to what? As this is an expat forum it should be compared to perhaps the city of origin for the expat, in my case London, UK. Additionally shouldn't we ask the budget of the comparison maker? Given enough budget wherever you are, you can make a facsimile of your favourite environment.

I've been to Addis several times and have spent quite a bit of time there, and I'm considering some kind of move, so I think I can understand the environment.

Lets be honest even new invigorated Addis is a train wreck compared to european cities. It has a gdp growth rate of 8 or 9% but lets remember its from a base of f***-all, relatively speaking.

Hospitals, schools, hotels and every institution from customs to road building is in a different world from what an expat may be used to. If you're a UN employee if you're ill you're airlifted to Kenya... says a lot. There are 4 or 5 "international" hotels. All the rest are spectacularly variable in their service. More recently it seems a lot of people specially those who have ferengi contact have gained rudimentary english skills, which goes some way to them explaining why they can't do x or y run out of z, don't have that in Ethiopia etc....

Aggressive begging, poor, ill people not getting healthcare, expiring on the street... being stared at like you've landed from another planet... crushing poverty, if you can't deal with this on a daily, (hourly?) basis, again Addis is not for you. If you can't deal with people getting in your face with their personal stuff then its a bad choice, if you haven't got any understanding or empathy of why they're like that then you shouldn't be considering a move to Addis. People are people and if you think expat life is living like a king whilst surrounded by beggars is uplifting then I would recommend you not go. Maybe book a therapist...

But that's not why anyone should move to addis... its not some undiscovered paradise just ripe for westerners to parachute in.

But... if you want a vibrant exciting (but dangerous....) city maybe its for you. If you want to participate in the development  of a developing country then maybe its for you. If you want to help build the schools, hospitals, housing etc then book your flight, because its the right city to do it in. A true businessman with his heart in the right place could make some inroads, given the extreme demands for... everything... That means taking some risks, investing your own coin. Meeting the bureaucracy head on. I think Ethiopia is ranked the millionth best place to do business or similar. :=)

The food is unsophisticated in the extreme. The markets and shopping are pitiful compared to europe. But is that why an ex pat would go to Addis? You want a top western lifestyle go to a top western city. Simple! You want a genuine top western lifestyle for peanuts then .... I can't help you. A BMW costs the same wherever you are... except in Addis its got a 150% tax on it. Anything made in Ethopia is dirt cheap (and usually at the budget end of the market if you know what I mean). Anything made outside Ethiopia (thats everything your current lifestyle consists of if you haven't yet moved...) is taxed to the hilt. So disabuse yourself of champagne lifestyle beer money fantasies if you have them. (Champagne? Not likely)

Wait - exception to the rule - the coffee is brilliant, no question. Although the hygiene of the establishment serving it may be brought into question.

If you want a specific lifestyle with specific foodstuffs, living accommodation and western trinkets (electronics, internet etc etc) then the only way you can guarantee it is if you import it yourself, seal yourself in a little western bubble (see the embassies and wealthy expats for examples...). But that takes $$$$.

If you want to get on with a regular salary you'll have to take the knocks that one of the worlds poorest countries brings. I'd also say you need to learn Amharic asap, difficult though it may be.

Personally I'd struggle without a full english breakfast on a weekend. Thing is i've no idea where I'd get the bacon..... at least for less than a small fortune. If those are the kind of details you can't live without then Addis isn't for you.

On the other hand if you can adapt to take pleasure from the local compromises then its a great city. A bottle of cheap and nasty red (sorry Habeshers... but Axum and the other one is alcoholic ribena) is about 60birr, a beer can be 15birr. A cheeseburger is cheap... and usually quite grim.

The question of how does it rate from 0 to 10 depends entirely on what you;re comparing it to, and what lifestyle you think you you will achieve.

On a scale of 0 to 10 how does it compare to living on a lawyers salary in New York? or living on a manual workers salary in London? Those are much better qualified questions in my mind.

Still a cold beer in the Face of Addis restaurant (not Top View, because it hasn't got a view any more, which reminds me about rampant development versus almost complete lack of planning....) is a nice way to end the day!! One day I may move there for few years... try to rev up my mind numbing western existence.

I am amazed by the comments posted about life in Addis Ababa. i taught at a British International school in Addis for 3 years from 2004 - 2007 and it was the best experience of my life. The country was not as developed then as it is now, but people were on the whole very friendly, social life was great, local beer and injera dishes were ridiculously cheap. Ethiopia is still oneof the safest places in Africa and if you are willing to become absorbed in the rich culture and tradition of the country you will find that the experiences you have will be truly uplifting. I am returning to Addis Ababa in August to take up a teaching position at the same international school. I can not wait to return.
Yes it is true that Addis Ababa does not have mega malls or sopermarket chains like Walmart or tescos and yes life is not going to anyway resemble the big apple or London (thank God), but that is the beauty of the city, one minute you will be hassled by pick pockets , but the next you will find yourself in awe at the spiritual love and reverence as you walk past any Orthodox church and observe poeple in devote prayer. But most of all for me it is the love the people have for reggae music...... the vibes at night are fantastic...please stop negating Addis Ababa.... One love

People who knock other countries amuse me with their diatribe.

For instance there is no way you can compare Ethiopia with UK.
By doing so you will be bitterly disappointed. It's like comparing apples to oranges and expecting them to be the same.

You need to lower your expectations and go there with an open uncluttered mind.Take the good with the bad. Research places before you go there and if you do not like what you read, then don't go.

I have been working around the world in different countries,some during conflict, for near 50 years, including Ethiopia. I have enjoyed my time in each and every one and some I have been back to a second time or more.

I am in a bit of a dilemma. I was offered a job in Addis Ababa with free housing and aa Guard plus about $2400 amonth salary, but later received a job offer in Riyadh Saudi for double the salary plus free housing  and travel allowance.
My dilemma is that i use to work in Addis Ababa in 2004 for 3 years until 2007 and i love every moment of my experience working there. Many people have shared their views with me about Addis, advising me not to go back because things are not the same as they were 7 years ago. The salary in Riyadh is appealing relative to that in addis, but obviously there are much more restrictions living and working in Riyadh and i am afraid that the restrictive environment may result in a very quiet dull existence for myself as an ex pat. So money on one hand and restrictive enviroment (Riyadh) or less money but a much better social environment (Addis Ababa). I would honestly love to hear any constructive thoughts on this..... Thanks very much.

Hie RaymondPhD. I believe a place is what you make out of it. I have friends who work in Saudi and they enjoy it. It is not all about social life because for you to enjoy the social life you need to have more money at hand. I would personally choose where I have more benefits and salary. You will always adjust and make new friends and make fun activities for yourself. Also it all depends on personal preferences so you think about what you want the most, whether you want to have more savings. For me being an expat I see it more as an opportunity to make more savings for the future... I don't place so much value on social life because with enough money I can always go to my country or any other holiday destination to have fun!

What a shame. May be your country is more cleaner than ours but u shouldn't have posted such a bad image. Why don't you go back to your previous place. I hope no one will force you to stay here in Addis. I was so angry as soon as i see your post, but now i'm cooling down 'cuz I understand that u r pessimist and some kind of resist.

Dear Sousoudodi,
Now i recognize you very well, you can say even more. We are in the virtue of finishing Nile dam.

Hey, am from Nairobi Kenya. want to start a small fabric business here. I understand products from Ethiopia are of good quality. i want to specifically import materials for making chairs. If you have any information please advice

hi, well i can only say there are a lot of discomfort like internet is bad most people doesnt understand many things rather than that the wheather is nice outside addis is better tought is poluted anyway for expat is cheap and therefore is cool.

Currently Addis is lossing a lot for me and the big winner of all development in the Country are medium towns, where I have the Feeling that development is better structured and let me call it more organic.

The best places to be are for me Hawassa, Admama, Mekele, etc, they are doing better then Addis.

Addis will develop just as any other capitzal on the continent.


PS living and enjoying live in Adama

I am an individual who is greatly interested in Ethiopia. It has so much written Heritage and so much historical significance. Your posts have allowed me to see the country not as a tourist but a citizen, a resident and a realist. Than

Thank you all for the educative experience.

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