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Expats in Africa: Tips to Live and Work



The number expats in Africa is increasing year after year. Even though foreigners represent only 2 to 3% of the population of all countries on the continent.

Thanks to the great diversity of landscapes and cultures, it attracts very different profiles of expatriates. From people looking for professional opportunities to others that want a big change of scenery.

But moving there requires good preparation beforehand. To avoid making mistakes, you can read here about health insurance in Africa, working opportunities, and the best destinations.

Expats in Africa: Preparing Your Departure

Mandatory Steps You Need to Take

The completion of immigration procedures is the most important step before moving to Africa. It must be meticulously prepared and, anticipated. Obtaining certain documents may take too much time or require the presence of specific proof.

Each country has its own immigration rules. To move to Africa, you will need to get:

  • A visa: depending on the case, it must be requested before departure, or obtained upon arrival in the country. It authorizes the entry of a foreigner into the national territory
  • A residence permit
  • A work permit, if applicable.

It is important to be well-informed about the documents and the deadlines for obtaining them to fulfill a complete application. Otherwise, you may be rejected or put yourself in an irregular situation and risk getting a sanction.

Once you are in Africa, you should not neglect to sign in with the registry of nationals living outside your country. It’s for security reasons, and to facilitate certain administrative procedures during your expatriation.

Do You Need Health Insurance in Africa?

Yes. You will need international health insurance in Africa. So, getting a policy is another essential step to take when you are preparing to move. It will cover you during your stay there, and also when you go to your home country.

Take in mind that not all African countries are equal in terms of health care supply and infrastructure. And public plans remain underdeveloped. And the policies offered by employers do not always offer sufficient guarantees.

An online insurance comparator will help you find the right contract between the solutions offered. In all cases, the policy must at least cover common health expenses, hospitalization, and repatriation. And, in some cases, it will also pay for all the mandatory vaccinations.

These depend on the country you are going to. And sometimes, even if they are not compulsory, you might want to be vaccinated anyways against:

  • Yellow fever
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Rabies
  • Typhoid.

Expat Work in Africa

The number of people who have chosen to expatriate to Africa is increasing every year. It is because the continent’s economy offers numerous growth and development opportunities to companies from all over the world.

Many sectors are likely to offer expat work in Africa. And the trend is supposed to go higher in the years to come.

Some of the countries with more jobs available to foreigners are South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, and Kenya. And some of the sectors with more opportunities are:

  • Oil, gas, and minerals
  • construction
  • Banking and finance
  • Telecommunications.

Each country has its job market, and the destination chosen should depend on the skills of each expatriate. Beware, however, if some countries are perfectly stable and secure, others are at least partly considered potentially dangerous for foreigners.

It is therefore important to inquire about potential risks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before expatriating to Africa. And to obtain certain security guarantees from the future employer.

In any case, it is essential to leave with a well-negotiated work contract and expatriation package.

What Are the Best African Countries for Expats?

The companies that hire foreigners often have a multicultural environment, and it’s easy to fit being an English speaker.

But if you want to expand your social networks out of the workplace, you will find it useful to learn French. It’s the first or second language in 31 countries.

The best African countries for expats vary, depending on the reason why they move. For the ones looking for a job, South Africa and Nigeria can be a very good option.

If you want to enjoy a change of scenery for your retirement, maybe Mauritius or Madagascar can be better options.

And if you want to enjoy an exotic country, without being too far from Europe, Morocco or Tunisia are two awesome destinations.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

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