Best Destinations for Professional Expats in Africa
Posted by Dannielle Noonan
Covering about 6% of the planet’s total land surface, Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent with 1.11 billion people. An increasing number of these people are professionals who have relocated there for work.
Despite the political uncertainties and health epidemics, Africa is an increasingly attractive destination for expats seeking higher salaries overseas because of a demand for skilled workers, particularly those with long experience in the lucrative oil and gas industry and/or a university degree.
Why is Africa so appealing? Because expats in Africa earn the most money according to The Telegraph
Of Africa’s 54 countries, some stand out as exceedingly popular with expats. Medibroker investigated the reasons so many people come to us looking for health cover specifically in these African countries.
South Africa remains as Africa’s top destination for expats and investors. The capital, Cape Town offers a diverse environment and the luxuries of urbanization. The city lies between the ocean and the iconic Table Top mountain, boasting hundreds of vineyards that produce some of the world’s best wines. Expats looking for working opportunities would be surprised by South Africa’s rapidly-developing technology sector and blossoming Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). If Cape Town isn't for you, the popular Johannesburg is considered as Africa’s economic capital and many large international mining companies have offices in the city.
Now a democratic country, Tanzania is growing rapidly both in terms of population and infrastructure and it has a large expat community. In fact, Tanzania is the largest and most populous country in the East African Community. Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, is the main pull for expats and remains its political and economic hub. There has recently been a big investment in education, making Tanzania a family friendly destination.
Despite about a third of the population currently living below the poverty line, the country has a high potential for growthdue to its many investment opportunities in areas such as mining, tourism, and natural resources. With companies from Australia, Canada, and South Africa investing in the gold sector, it is fast becoming one of Africa’s major producers. In the energy sector, many people work for oil and gas companies, as well as for companies focusing on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, hydropower, and biomass. Expats generally work here for NGOs or for the growing number of international organisations opening offices in the country.
A recent study showed that expats in Nigeria are amongst the highest global earners; some 12% of respondents there said they earned more than $250,000 as gross annual household in last year’s Expat Insider survey.
High salaries for expats in Nigeria are probably because it’s considered a risky area thanks to Boko Haram and kidnappings around oil rigs. However, Nigeria expats also work the longest hours and the cost of living in the two biggest cities, Lagos and Abuja, is high. Despite the costs, most expats choose one of the two if they aren't working in one of the oil-rich and isolated southern Niger Delta states which are still profiting from the 1970s oil boom. The gap between rich and poor is clear. While accommodation costs are also high, it's normal for expats' employers to foot the bill.
Several multinational companies have offices in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The Chinese news agency CCTV, US’ General Electric and the Rockefeller Foundation use the country as their hub in the African region. Expats would find it a joy exploring the gracious city, which has stylish yet affordable housing options, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and cosmopolitan districts.
Generally political stable, Kenya has good infrastructure but expats looking for work must contend with local employee protection laws. Regardless, there is still a pull for managers of multinational companies, or development and NGO employees and volunteers. While many expats in the country lead guarded lived, the local culture is in fact very welcoming and you can often have a much higher quality of life than you would at home.
With 20% of Ghana’s population of 20 million, the coastal capital city of Accra is a popular leisure destination in Africa thanks to its affluent communities and increasing number of shopping malls. It has attracted a diverse expat community though the entire country's expat population is only 8%.
There are employment opportunities for foreigners in Ghana in the growing hydrocarbon, telecommunications, mining and transportation industries. Highly skilled foreigners will find that salaries far exceed that of their home countries for the same work, and that companies view Ghana as a ‘hardship posting’, which brings additional financial benefits. Expats in the market for jobs may also try for the real estate and services sectors and can look forward to warm locals and a laid-back way of life.
Ghana is generally a safe place to live and it suffers from less corruption and political instability than its neighbours however water and electricity can be very unreliable.
The young but thriving city of Gaborone in Botswana attracts thousands of athletes each year for its modern sports facilities. The city hosted the Africa Junior Athletics Championships in 2011 and other regional sports tournaments. The country's strong banking system has helped to bolster its position.
Home to around 2 million people it also one of the world’s largest rough diamond producers, attracting foreign mining companies and jewelry makers. Thousands of British expats, employed in UK-based mining companies, call Gaborone home. Healthcare is of a good standard but medical evacuation is still necessary in serious cases.
If you are moving to any part of Africa, it's important you have a comprehensive medical insurance policy to protect your health and finances while you are overseas. The experienced team of international health insurance advisors at Medibroker will talk to you personally to understand your needs and use their expert knowledge to assess over 100 medical insurance plans to find the best one for your specific situation. We're completely impartial and 100% free.