Live & Work in Africa
Kenya – The fastest growing economy
Working in Kenya provides you with the opportunity to participate in East Africa’s “economic growth engine” and conquer a few challenges along the way.
Fast growing economy
By working in Kenya, you will contribute to one of East Africa’s bigger economies. In 2015, the Kenyan economy grew by a respectable 5.8% and it is expected to further grow by 6.2% in 2017. The government is currently planning to transform the nation from its present status as a developing country and emerging market into a middle-income country within the next two decades. Such an increase in general economic growth, average income, and standard of living would benefit everyone living in Kenya.
A future in oil?
Kenya’s industrial activity also focuses on the petrochemical sector. Oil is imported, refined or used for petroleum-based products, which are then re-exported. In spring 2012, the Kenyan government announced that oil reserves had been discovered in northern Kenya. So far, it remains unclear what effect these discoveries will have on the people living and working in Kenya, but the country could become an oil producing nation as early as 2017.
The east African hub for finance, tourism and technology
Although the overwhelming majority of the Kenyan labour force is working in Kenya’s agricultural sector, 70% of Kenya’s GDP is produced by the second and third sector, with tourism, banking, and IT key industries. Due to its breathtakingly beautiful scenery, Kenya is a popular holiday destination. In 2010, the number of tourists reached an all-time high, and in 2011 increased even more — a boom for everyone working in Kenya’s hospitality industry.
Apart from tourism and finance, it is information and communication technology that will shape Kenya’s economic future. In early 2013 over 30 million people had cell phone subscriptions. With the global rise of smartphones and the mobile internet, these figures predict a boom for those working in Kenya’s IT/CT business.
Work Opportunities for expats
New infrastructure projects may also open up opportunities for international investors and expats interested in working in Kenya. To build roads and transport hubs, tap new energy sources, and create a better communications network, Kenya needs the expertise of its university graduates, as well as more foreign specialists working in Kenya.
Community development projects always require skilled expats and volunteers and many expatriates are employed by the community, regional, and continental headquarters of IGOs and NGOs (the UN, the World Bank, the Red Cross, etc.) or by the Nairobi branches of multi-nationals like BASF, Coca Cola, or PWC. With projected growth rates of five to six percent in the near future, there is going to be a demand for highly qualified people working in Kenya.
Nigeria – The largest economy in Africa
Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as the largest economy in Africa, and work prospects for qualified accountants and engineers are good, with opportunities available in a variety of industries. Nevertheless, despite its wealth, Nigeria remains somewhat of a hardship destination, and expats working in Nigeria will most likely find themselves caught up in the daily struggle, despite the country’s continued efforts at reform within the business world. However, on the plus side, it is one of the few locations in the world where you can command an expat package, so financially it is a good move! You will also hire ‘staff’ to help manage your life – with cleaners, a driver and someone to take care of your pool!
Nigeria’s economy is still largely chained to its oil sector, which accounts for around 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings, though the government is starting to take slow steps to diversify its economy. As a result, most expats working in Nigeria are in oil and mining companies, or work in the banking, telecommunications and construction industries. Popular expatriate jobs within these sectors include project management, business development, engineering, human resources management, IT systems management and chartered accountancy. Apart from jobs in these industries, expats who possess exceptional skills in the IT, journalism, communication and health sciences sectors will have work opportunities available to them. The NGO sector is also a significant employer, as several agencies and UN projects use Nigeria as their West African operations base.
With over 250 different ethnic groups and a multitude of foreign-owned multinational companies, expats working in Nigeria will find themselves in a very diverse, and mostly welcoming, business environment. However, relocating and adjusting to working life here may require a great deal of flexibility and patience, especially when it comes to dealing with local counterparts. The corporate structure in Nigeria is hierarchical and managers, and especially elders, are respected. It won’t be long before expats find themselves a victim of the workforce policy on punctuality, “hurry up and wait”. The country functions at a relaxed pace, even when it comes to doing business, meaning that a meeting scheduled for 10am may very well only happen at 3pm, if at all. Prepare accordingly and learn to be as flexible as possible.