Experts Talk: All about Working in Africa

working in Africa, working in the African continent

When it comes to working abroad and working in a different culture, there are a whole lot of misconceptions and myths that we carry. On a Mentza discussion on Global Careers hosted by AK Achyut Menon, our recruitment expert from UHR, Nisha Kapoor along with a fellow expert from Africa Tinashe Hove talked about the nitty-gritties of working in the African continent and in the process also dispelled some myths. Below are some key pointers.

So, without further ado let us see what it means to work in the African continent!

Dispelling the Myths:

First things first, Africa is a big continent, with around fifty-four countries, all having a different culture and language. A lot of us think of Africa as a whole country, some even thinking about whole of Africa as South Africa!

Each country has a different set of customs and work culture. The differences can be seen even in the duration of work permits and what each country is seeking to build. We shall take a special look into this aspect later. Continuing on the myths and misconceptions, one more myth that surrounds the African continent is that one perceives it to be a place with poor infrastructure. The countries in Africa have not only great roads but also flyovers crisscrossing. There are rich reservoirs of mineral resources, toll-roads, solar projects to work on. What’s more, over the last few decades, many Indian telecom companies have also been making headways into the continent, all in turn building upon the infrastructure.

Now that the image of the African continent is in place, let us take a look at the opportunities one can encounter!

Opportunities and Industries:

Africa is a continent where one can work across the vertical and horizontal levels. Unlike some countries, the hierarchy is a lot more flexible and one can achieve a high post in a relatively less time, provided the right skills and competence. One can directly access the decision-makers, the owners and the managing directors, proving one’s mettle and keep growing. Again, differing from some countries, where one often finds oneself departmentalised in hierarchies and waiting for promotions, the African continent provides a large canvas with its flexible systems.

It’s a bonus if you are someone who is an expert in the industry and has had experience – African companies put a lot of importance in expertise which can be passed on to through training and experience.

What’s more, the warm and friendly nature of the locals, the multicultural workplace environment, the salaries in US dollars for expats, a respect for expertise, experience and competence, all this makes a wonderful experience. There have been candidates who were so happy working there that they wanted to keep extending their contracts!

Let us take a look at some more peculiarities exclusive to the African continent.

More About Africa:

From manufacturing, IT and non-IT, engineering, the African industrial landscape has a lot to offer. There has been a push towards the entrepreneurial spirit what with one of the youngest set of populations now seen in the continent with an economy for the future. Jobs are being created by emerging as well as established businesses and micro-businesses, all looking to develop further.

Students who are studying in the various African countries have an even greater advantage here- they can interact with their lecturers and other professionals, start networking and create a job for themselves even before a need for the job arises! The older, experienced candidates obviously have their expertise and digital networks to bank on.

Each country in the African continent has a certain need for further development- a Google search for the work-seekers permit would give us a list of the skills each country is on a lookout for. Coupled with this research about what expertise is needed particularly, and a visit to explore the culture and the place should help the individual looking to work in Africa get a sense of what it would be like living and working in this environment. And many happy candidates who were placed as heads-of-department at many of the industries in the African continent, now having risen to GM/MD levels would have a lot to talk about the importance of getting the right consultation!

Lives Of Happy Candidates: Mr. Nagaraja K R

A good environment is a prerequisite to personal and professional growth. Be it the workplace, the city/town one lives in, or the kind of work one does, it is necessary that they all contribute to the well-being and success of the individual. We make sure that our candidates get such an experience that helps them look beyond the preconceived prejudices and biases about places and people.

 

We, at United HR Solutions make sure that our candidates get the best opportunities possible, which help them realise their potentials, and which help them strike a perfect balance of personal and professional life. Success, after all, should be wholesome.

 

Unfortunately, Africa as a continent has a very peculiar image in the minds of many. The things mentioned above like well-being, safety, growth are not the things generally associated with the place because of half-baked information one might have come across, hearsay, reliance on limited sources or simply because of an unwillingness to look beyond certain stereotypes. Success on a corporate level is an even more unthinkable possibility for many.

We have a different story to tell.

Our successful and happy candidate, Mr. Nagaraja  K R has a different story to tell (and  show).

He tells us about his experience in Tanga, a port-city in Tanzania where he works at Neelkanth Lime Ltd. :

“Under guidance of our Managing Director, All department HOD with all teams we are able to contribute for business success and bringing investor’s vision into final business results successfully. There is 100% focus on KRA, feasibility, cost benefits, optimum resource utility, converting time to money, trying to bring positive results every day, reduce wastages, converting unutilized resource to money. The management is very supportive, and their drive for result-oriented activities, culture and values  has helped in achievement of KRA/KPI/goals. Here I got more duties & responsibility, new assignments, challenging tasks, more business insights,all of which has helped me to grow from all professional angles. This working environment helps individual capability improvement & gives opportunity to bring skillset into real time practice. ”

As can be seen, the roles and responsibilities offered in Africa as a continent in general are far less rigid, and provide an opportunity for a truly professionally wholesome development. Mr. Nagaraja  started as an Executive Assistant with the company. He is now a General Manager.

 

He further tells us about the place:

“Tanga is good place to work. Small town, peaceful. People are good in general, the city is clean. Security is good. Irrespective of time you can go outside. There is a good theatre here and all new Hindi films release along with their Indian releases. Some good hotels are available here. Indian food is also available here,be it North Indian or South Indian.

“Fruits like Cassava, Mangoes, Pineapple, Ramphal and are very cheap. Cost of living is less compared to other towns in Africa / Tanzanian city. Weather is good most of the year, and pollution is very less. The vegetation is good. There is connectivity to Dar es Salam via roadway, airway and seaway. The traffic is minimal and it takes maximum 30 minutes to commute anywhere in Tanga. ”

 

He shared these wonderful photographs of the place.

 

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The  quaint  Tanga  airport. Look  at  the  clear  blue  sky!

 

800px-Tanga,_Tanzania,_town_centre

Tanga  roundabout.

 

 

Ship_in_the_Tanga_Bay

The  picturesque  Tanga Bay [Bandari Port]

 

P.S : We thank Mr. Nagaraja K R for sharing his experiences with us. We also thank the city of Tanga for welcoming him with open arms.