Africa – Economy and Working Opportunities
Africa is the second largest continent on Earth and houses approximately 15% of the world’s population. It has 54 sovereign states and perhaps surprisingly 50% of Africans are 19 or younger. It is a diverse continent in environment and economic & political stability, therefore the expat’s choices in terms of where to work and in what industries are governed by the independent circumstances of each state. There are however general trends that we can draw on in terms of wealth and security of nations that may give some starting points for the outsider.
Africa has a vast wealth of Natural Resources and also large swathes of agricultural land and strong trading partners. The wealthiest countries have taken advantage of this and also the large available local workforce. The growth rates of some African nations are enormous with Mauritania reaching nearly 20% and Angola around 17% per annum.
The major trade partners China and India and to a lesser extent Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia make up around 25% of Africa’s export market and increasing investment from foreign companies and nations is continuing to expand this trading network.
As is to be expected the major players in terms of growth are net exporters of Oil and Minerals with West and East Africa outperforming the rest of the continent, but the Pan-Africa Free Trade Zone aims to free up trade within Africa which can only be good news for countries without the vast reserves of resources available for export.
The major opportunities for foreign nationals for work in Africa are: the Energy Industry – Hydro Electric, Coal, Petrol and Gas are all big exports; Mining and Drilling – Africa has one of the biggest Mineral industries in the world including diamonds, platinum, gold of course, bauxite and cobalt; Investment and Banking – with the influx of foreign money from China and India, the growing attention of the US and European Union countries Africa is starting to be seen as a new frontier for investments.