Work in Africa

Darcy Nathan, Editorial assistant
December, 2023

Employers in Africa are seeking skilled professionals to assume key roles in growth economies. Embrace this opportunity and immerse yourself in the cultural wealth that Africa has to offer

Home to the world-famous Victoria Falls and Mount Kilimanjaro, exotic wildlife, as well as 56 sovereign states and roughly 1,500-2,000 spoken languages, Africa is a continent of rich cultural diversity with plenty to explore.

Several multinational companies, including big names such as Barclays, Deloitte, DHL, PwC, and Microsoft, have African bases - meaning you may be eligible to work in Africa without moving organisations.

Skills shortages

In Africa, the persistent challenge of skills shortages across various sectors poses a significant barrier to economic growth and development. According to recent data from the African Development Bank, a substantial portion of the workforce lacks the specialised skills required for emerging industries.

There is a significant shortage of technical skills, particularly in areas such as information technology and engineering, in countries like Nigeria and South Africa. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation has identified a lack of skilled healthcare professionals in many African countries, which has resulted in inadequate healthcare delivery.

Addressing the skills gap is significant for companies aiming to promote long-term growth and prosperity throughout the continent. Foreign graduates may discover that their expertise is vital to the advancement of fields such as healthcare, education, technology, and infrastructure.

Foreign workers should secure employment before relocating to ensure that they can obtain a work visa, despite the availability of job opportunities in various shortage areas.

The best places to work in Africa

Multinational corporations with a presence in Africa are the primary employers for foreign professionals. These companies have established recruitment channels and are well-versed in navigating the visa application process. Directly reaching out to these companies increases your chances of landing a position in Africa.

African Business publishes an annual report, the Brand Africa 100, a consumer-led survey which questions thousands of African adults to explore what makes a company appealing to prospective employees.

Findings from the 2022 report revealed that brands with an international presence dominate the list, with the top five made up of:

  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Samsung
  • Coca-Cola
  • Apple.

Only one national company, Nigerian consumer brand Dangote appeared in the top 30.

African salaries

If you are searching for a high salary, you may want to consider options outside of Africa as salaries in the region are generally lower than those for the same roles in the UK. For example, according to Salary Explorer, accounting and finance professionals in Nigeria earned an average of £304 per month in 2023, compared to the average monthly wage in the UK of around £2,253 as reported by Statistica.

In Kenya, the salaries of people in the medical profession vary greatly. Nurses typically earn around £360 per month, while surgeons earn much more at around £3,192 per month. According to Salary Explorer, the average monthly salary for teachers in Kenya is £405. In comparison, average annual salaries for nurses in the UK are £26,000, with surgeons earning around £90,000. The average salary for teachers in England and Wales is £30,000.

You'll find that living expenses balance the salary - Morocco and Nigeria are 54% cheaper than UK, with Egypt 74.6% lower (MyLifeElsewhere).

Where to look for jobs

You can search for vacancies at:

Alternatively, consider volunteering through a company such as International Volunteer HQ or Kaya Responsible Travel.

Working in local communities, you'll find gap year programmes and work placements in a range of areas such as animal conservation, teaching and community sport. Completing a volunteer placement could open up job opportunities, and it also helps you develop the skills employers are looking for.

Start your job hunt online from your home country. Most companies accept applications through an online portal, where you'll upload a CV and complete an application form, before being invited for an online interview if you're successful.

African visas

If you are planning to work in Africa, it is essential to obtain a visa or permit. Regardless of whether you have long-term plans or are looking for a temporary job, different countries have different requirements. To get more information, you can contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are interested in.

It is advisable to submit your visa application well in advance. The processing of your application usually takes three working days, but it is recommended that you allow for possible delays and other factors such as mailing time if you are unable to submit it in person. You may check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are interested in for a more specific timeframe.

Bear in mind that some areas of Africa are classed as unsafe - visit GOV.UK - Foreign travel advice to find up-to-date information for travelling to your chosen country.

Study in Africa

Studying abroad is another great way to experience life in Africa. There are 41 African universities listed in the QS World University Rankings 2024. Although most of these universities are located in Egypt or South Africa, there are also institutions in Morocco, Uganda, Tunisia, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia that have made it to the list.

A total of 11 South African universities, including the University of Cape Town, rank in the top 200 of The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024.

Find out more

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