Expat survey affirms what we already know about Uganda: it is friendly, and education sucks

Uganda ranks fourth in countries where it is easy for expats to make friends, according to Expat Insider 2017. It comes after Costa Rica, Mexico and Argentina.

The expat survey conducted by Munich-based InterNations places Uganda as one of the Top 10 countries where it is easy to settle in. In the eighth position this year, Uganda ranked third last year.

“In 2017, 82% of respondents describe the Ugandan population as generally friendly,” the report says. Kenya, the other African country in the Top 15, ranked 12, while Bahrain topped the country.

Overall as a destination for expats, Uganda ranks 46 globally. In Africa, it comes after South Africa at 42, and Kenya at 37. While Kenya and South Africa have moved up, Uganda has fallen by twenty spots. Last year, Uganda ranked 26 while Kenya ranked 46 and South Africa 51.

Bahrain was ranked as the top destination for expats by the survey, followed by Costa Rica. Last year, Taiwan and Malta were ranked first and second, respectively.

An expat is someone who lives in a country in which they are not citizens. They mostly leave their home country for work, study, retirement or move with family to another country. According to Finnacord, an international market research and consulting company, there are about 50 million expats in the world, with the number expected to grow to over 60 million by 2020.

The Expat Insider sources responses from several expats across the world, and focuses on different aspects of an expatriate’s life: quality of life, working abroad, personal finance, cost of living, family life, and ease of settling in.

In the family and relationships section, Uganda lags in general education options. It ranks third from bottom with the report indicating that “almost a third of expat parents are not happy with the education options in general, and over half aren’t satisfied with affordability.”

And in regard to personal finance, expats feel the same dissatisfaction as their local counterparts. Where 60 percent of respondents said, their income was more than enough in 2016, only 38 percent felt similarly this year. “One in nine expats in Uganda even gives their financial situation the worst possible rating, whereas no respondents gave it this rating in 2016.” The survey does not explain the changes.

Expats also rated Uganda as more emotional and welcoming, but less dynamic and innovative than neighbouring, Kenya. Kenya is also viewed as more passionate and outgoing than Uganda.

A typical expat in Uganda, according to the survey this year, is the “travelling spouse”; 87% of expats in this category are women who have moved countries because of their partner’s foreign assignment. Almost half of them work part-time and a large number, 72%, send their children to private schools.

Last year, Uganda was regarded as the typical country of residence for the “greener pastures expat”. These were profiled as expats looking for a better quality of life. They averaged 47.3 years, were mostly male and either owned a business or had a part-time job.

Globally, Uganda ranked no.26 as an expat destination last year, and number one in Africa. In that year’s ranking, “no one had anything negative to say about it.”

The survey depends on responses from expats who have signed up to join InterNations and respond to its surveys.