Starting a career in Africa: what you need to know beforehand

Africa is home to 1.3 billion people, speaking different dialects, with different cultures, and different appearances. There simply is no other continent in the world that embraces as much diversity as Africa. With beautiful natural resources and a growing economy, it has become the prime destination for both investors and employees. If you are in need of a change of scenery, love challenges, and would like to dive into new cultures, then you should consider building a career in Africa. But first, here is what you should look forward to.

A smooth transition career in Africa:

Things are looking up for the African continent; the economy has known an increase of 3.6%, and a number of multinationals are setting up base on African soil. If you’re working for an international organization, then you are in luck! This means that you probably won’t have to change organizations if you decide on working in Africa.

In need of skills career in Africa:

With one of the highest rates of education exclusion in the world and a shake education system, Africa needs skilled people. Even businesses suffer from a lack of training and technical knowledge due to a low rate of university graduates. This skill crisis constitutes a great opportunity for international graduates in all sectors. For instance, your expertise can touch sectors like business management, accounting, IT, geology, and engineering.

If you are considering a career in Africa, make sure to research the skills needed for each country. This way, you guarantee that you will find employment very quickly. For example in Nigeria, the ITF and UNIDO has announced in 2018 that the country lacked 925 trade skills. These skill are generally needed in industries like automobile, textile, and steel. The Egyptian workforce, on the other hand, is in need of English speakers. This need is noticeable in the tourism, education and finance sectors, as well as in administrations.

A wide range of choices career in Africa:

With many international and national investors, Africa offers plenty of work opportunities in many places. In fact, the African business magazine has compiled a list of the most desired companies for a career in Africa. The list included several international companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Heineken international, PwC, etc. It also incorporated national companies such as African development bank and Nigeria LNG.

The survey has also revealed a shift towards brands with an international presence. A special interest towards meaningful jobs with a social impact and a need for leadership skills was noticed as well.

Salary issues  

If you’re counting on a generous salary when starting a career in in Africa, then you will be sorely disappointed.  Actually, salary in the UK is several times higher than its African counterpart. For example, a Nigerian accountant earns £720 a month in 2018, while a British accountant earns £5,150. Learn how to negotiate your salary here.

Low living costs

Although salaries can be quite low, and employees are not fairly compensated for their work, low living costs balances this out and ensures more than decent living conditions.  It takes less than half of what you will spend in most European countries to live in Africa. Rent, food, and other basic necessities are far cheaper, and you won’t need to spend much if you start a career in Africa.

Troublesome visas

In order for you to start working in Africa, you will need to acquire a visa or work permit. Although each country has its own set of requirements that are available on their official embassy websites, they are generally the same. Whether you are planning on settling down in Africa or are just looking for a temporary job, you should apply to your visa as early as possible, so as to avoid getting delayed by complicated administrative work. Another factor to take into consideration is how the safe the country is. Thus, make sure to do extended research beforehand.

To avoid any delays, make sure to look for jobs beforhand via job boards like Sabiss recruitments, or by joining volunteering networks and organically fnding a job that suits you.

Language barriers

Africa is a multicultural environment with up to 2000 spoken languages. In south Africa alone, there are 11 official languages. Although the language of media, political broadcasts, and other professional setting is either English or French, local dialects dominate the streets. This can be quite overwhelming for a foreigner, but rest assured, you will not face serious obstacles because of the language difference while working in Africa.

Taxes and holidays

As an official employee working in Africa, you will be required to pay taxes. The first step would be to register in your country’s revenue service. You can ask your HR department for more information, as some usually take care of taxes and insurance for their employees, or look it up online and take an appointment to register yourself. Generally speaking, as a non-permanent resident, you will only be taxed on your African income.

When it comes to Holidays, you will get a round 11 to 22 paid mandatory vacation days when you start your career in Africa, and an average of two weeks for paid leave annually.

Family friendly

Many African countries figure in the top 73 of the world’s best countries to raise kids. You will find great international schools that offer a global curriculum, nice after school activities, and a similar environment to the one back home. But every country is different, so make sure to check everything out online before starting a career in Africa.

Just like any other major decision in your life, choosing to build a career in Africa needs careful consideration and thought. Many aspects have to be mulled over to figure out if this is the right choice for you. In this article, we tried to bring up your attention to the most important factors involved in moving to another country, but there are still many more things to pay attention to. This being said, African businesses are currently booming, and there is so much potential that you can benefit from hidden away in this continent. Everything from natural resources to human workforce is on your side, whether you want to start your own business or simply take up a new post.

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