Live and Work in Africa - The Best Countries for Expats

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Safety, salaries, job opportunities, and quality of life are just some of the factors that determine the attractiveness of a country for foreigners looking to relocate for work in Africa. With a growing economy and a huge number of businesses working to fill niches in the markets, Africa presents many opportunities for foreign professionals, and expatriates especially have the potential to earn large salaries.


A large draw of living in Africa may be the relatively low cost of living, the interesting cultures and cities, and the natural beauty in wildlife. But the safety and level of development in terms of infrastructure, healthcare, and education can make or break whether expats choose to move to any given country.


It’s a hard choice, with plenty of pros and cons for each country in Africa, however, we have found some of the most desirable nations for foreigners to live and work in, based on opportunities, salaries, safety, social life, quality of life, and more.


The best African countries for expats to live and work in


Mauritius

Photo: A view of the island of Mauritius and its clear bright blue waters, taken from the sky.

The island of Mauritius is one of the safest, cleanest nations in Africa, with one of the highest-earning potentials due to its competitive and active economy. French and English speakers will both find it easy to settle in and find work here, as these are widely spoken in Mauritius (along with Creole). What’s more, Mauritians are reportedly friendly and welcoming, and expats will find many social and outdoor activities to do here. Another draw of Mauritius is its beautiful and diverse wildlife, stunning beaches, and tropical climate, making for an enjoyable lifestyle.


Kenya

Photo: A giraffe stands in a grassy wild plain with acacia trees with the skyline of the city of Nairobi right behind it.

A welcoming country rich in diverse wildlife and natural beauty, Kenya is attractive to both tourists and foreign expats. The country has reasonably developed infrastructure and affordable housing and is relatively safe to live in. Its capital, Nairobi, is a buzzing cosmopolitan and multicultural hub with good nightlife and many activities available, as well as a large expat community.


English and Swahili are both the official languages of Kenya, and there are decent healthcare and excellent private schooling options in the country.


Namibia

Photo: The Namib desert, with bare trees in white sand in the foreground, and red sand dunes against a bright, clear blue sky in the background.

With a wealth of minerals and an excellent human rights record, Namibia is an exemplary democratic country that is safe and peaceful for foreigners and locals alike and offers quality healthcare services. It is among the countries with the highest average salaries in Africa and the 10th richest nation on the continent, however, the cost of living in Namibia is high as most consumables are imported.


The capital, Windhoek, is small but charming, with a lively expat community and many social activities. To add to that, the country is famed for its beautiful desert landscapes, which are another attraction for foreigners.


Tanzania

Photo: A herd of adult and baby elephants stand in the plains of the Serengeti with Mount Kilimanjaro behind them in the background.

Tanzania is among the nations with the highest average salaries in Africa and is home to a large expat community, making it easy for foreigners to quickly settle in. Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam is where most expatriates choose to live. Tanzania is fairly safe to live in and has many job opportunities for foreign professionals. The country is also popular among tourists and foreign expats due to its beautiful national parks filled with diverse wildlife and Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.


South Africa

Photo: A view of the Cape Town harbour in the V&A Waterfront filled with yachts, with hotels and other buildings surrounding the port. Table mountain stands in the background under a blue sky streaked with picturesque clouds.

A country rich in culture, history, wildlife, and natural beauty, South Africa is not just a popular tourist destination but a common choice for foreigners relocating and has many job opportunities and high earning potential for professional African and overseas expatriates. The nation has embraced industrialisation and has a highly developed infrastructure and finance and tech industry especially compared to other African countries, a very attractive aspect of living there.


Although the country has safety issues, many foreigners live relatively safely. It is important to note, however, that xenophobia directed mainly at foreign African nationals is a continuing problem in certain suburbs and neighbourhoods in South Africa and this is something to consider when looking to relocate to, or deciding where to live in, the country.


Botswana

Photo: Three wilderbeest drink at a waterhole in the dry plains of a safari park in Botswana.

One of the most stable and safest countries in Africa, Botswana is a great choice for expatriates looking to live and work in Africa. English is widely spoken, making it easy for many foreigners to move around and work in, and the local population is peaceful and welcoming.


The country is also rated as a top tourist destination, and with its wildlife, beautiful places of nature, and temperate climate, Botswana is a pleasant country to live in.


Life in Botswana is affordable and foreign professionals will find many jobs with decent pay.


Ghana

Photo: Green palm nut trees next to a body of water in the daytime. A hut on stilts with a thatched roof stands in the water by the shoreline with a boat docked next to it.

An exceptionally well-managed country, especially compared to most African nations, Ghana is safe to live in and accommodating of foreigners. It succeeds in being a prime example of democracy and the official language is English, making it easy for many foreign nationals to work. Establishing a business in Ghana is known to be relatively pain-free as well.


Those who move to Ghana will be greeted by a welcoming and friendly population, a fair climate, and abundant natural beauty.


Algeria

Photo: Bridge crossing a river with green trees in a lush valley, with red rocky cliffs rising up on either side.

Algeria has the highest life expectancy of all countries in Africa as well as the highest average salary on the continent: around $1,713 after tax. The oil-rich country has a high human development index and a promising economy. It is a great place for expats to work in and raise children, although it is not the safest nation on the continent.


More attractive countries in Africa for expats:


Safest

We’ve already mentioned Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, and South Africa, which are rated by Global Facts as some of the safest countries in Africa, but the list also includes Seychelles, Cape Verde, Tunisia, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Gabon.


Highest average salary: Libya


This is another country for expats to consider, albeit with a grain of salt.

Photo: Sand-coloured concrete fort-like building standing over a body of water at night, lit up by lights.

Libya ranks as the highest-paying nation in Africa, with an average monthly salary of $1700 as of 2021. The oil-producing country has a high life expectancy and human development index. However, the country is conflict-ridden and rated as unsafe to live in, especially for foreign African nationals, although there is still a large expat community in the capital, Tripoli.


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If you're a finance professional looking for a position in Africa, take a look at CA Finance's job board.


If you’re a skilled professional seeking work in Africa, visit CA Global where you can find job boards with vacancies in various sectors and get assistance from our expert consultants.

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