Are there too many expats in Africa?
Everybody wants to be in Africa right now. Major companies are competing to set up business hubs in economically progressive African countries – particularly oil-rich countries in Africa – and international candidates are scrambling to obtain highly sought-after jobs, by relocating to various countries in Africa.
Relocating to Africa (or anywhere in the world for that matter) is not an easy feat. Depending on where in Africa the expat is relocating to, you will be subject to a certain level of hardship, which will require adjusting to.
The “comforting” aspect around expat life is that salaries awarded are generally very generous. Most expat salary packages include a number of lucrative benefits which sometimes makes allowances not only for the applicant but also their family.
A typical expat salary includes housing, petro allowance, car allowance (or car), cellular phone allowance, medical aid, pension fund, food allowance, laptop, a few return flights home and an education allowance for self and family.
There are more generous packages that include various spousal allowances.
Basically some expats may be able to comfortably live off the benefits alone.
So…are there too many expats in Africa?
It is quite a difficult question to answer in a short article but my opinion is that whilst there are many expats in Africa, there are not too many of them. Some may argue that the skills that major companies are importing can be found locally. And that is true.
There are many highly skilled locals across Africa. The issue is not about the skills that locals possess but rather the skills that they do not possess. With companies expanding into Africa it is important to keep in mind that companies maintain their own internal standardised practices which need to be maintained across each of their global business units, the local professionals.
I do not think that there are too many expats in our African countries. Many African countries have strict legislation that governs the recruitment of expats into Africa. The legislation puts out that before considering any expat, companies need to submit documents proving that they were unable to source the required skills locally. This ensures that locals are considered as a first portion and only once the local market has been exhausted in the search for a particular skill-set, can the company consider looking at expats.
This ultimately allows the integration and sharing of ideas and knowledge, coupled with the diverse corporate culture that including expats into the company allows for, makes for an incredibly powerful and forward-thinking company.
…Or do you disagree? Why?
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