Considered working in West Africa?


Job seekers originating from outside Africa could be concerned about cultural differences when thinking about relocating to the region.

We answer some typical FAQs for professionals looking at making the transition, on topics ranging from language and tax, to working salary and getting a visa.

Why move to West Africa?

West Africa is an exciting place to visit.

Its national parks and game reserves are home to some of the last remaining endangered species, while its beautiful mountains and beaches offer spectacular views.

Do I need to be able to speak local West African languages?

Anyone in the business world in Western Africa should be fluent in English as it is the most spoken language. Being able to speak other local African languages would be regarded as an advantage but it depends on the role you are applying for.

Being able to speak other local African languages would be regarded as an advantage but it depends on the role you are applying for.

Is there any tax?

There are minimal taxes to consider when considering relocating to Western Africa. In some countries, all working professionals are taxed according to their income group and it is deducted directly from their wages. Anyone who stays in the region for 183 days in any 12-month period is required to pay personal income tax.

Is moving to West Africa going to affect my salary?

Minimum wages in West Africa were increased in July 2013. For more information, you can read Robert Walters Sub-Saharan Africa Salary Survey. It allows you to view salary levels for Sub-Saharan Africa for the industry you are interested in.

How to get a VISA in West Africa?

Professionals who are looking to work in West Africa can be issued a residence permits. In some countries, embassies only issue visas to nationals or residents of that country, so employers must apply for a temporary work permit visa if they hire a foreign employee. A temporary work visa is given for a period not exceeding three months and may be extended by the Controller-General of Immigration.

For more detailed Visa information it is worth visiting the official government website of the country you are heading to.

How many public holidays are there?

Public holidays in West Africa do not vary greatly from year to year. With most celebrations, such as New Year's Day in South Africa on the 1st  January are fixed, others vary in timing. Across the region, you can typically expect between 8-15 public holiday days each year.

What medical facilities are available?

Before travelling to West Africa you should purchase health insurance. The best medical care is from private clinics and is fairly expensive. Cash payment in advance is required and medication is purchased from private clinics. The best idea is to consult your GP for information on routine immunisations before you leave.

Find out what you're worth with the Robert Walters Salary Survey.

For more career advice, and information on how to switch careers, please contact:

Samantha Gravett, Manager
+27 (0)11 881 2471



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