5 Best African Countries for Contractors

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the UK unemployment rate to rise to 5%, meaning 1 in 20 people are out of work. Britain’s contractors were hit particularly badly in the past year, due to sudden contract cancellations, vulnerable key contract workers such as supply teachers and infrastructure specialists forced to choose between employment and safety, and confusion surrounding eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and resulting furlough payments.

Although lockdowns and business restructuring programmes are continuing into 2021, the new year signals a better 12 months ahead for employment prospects – especially for those keen on a change of scenery. Over half of working-age individuals are considering taking up a new job in 2021, meaning that employers are expecting a boom in applications from untapped talent pools. Hiring companies will be actively on the lookout for candidates from overseas who have more diverse skills, knowledge and experience that they have never before been able to access.

Now is the perfect time to enjoy something new, upskill and transform your contracting career with a wealth of new experiences. Here are our recommendations for the top 5 African countries to look into for your next contracting job.

5 Best Places in Africa to Work as a Contractor

1. Egypt

Egypt’s construction sector is fast expanding due to a number of major long-term projects and significant local and foreign investment:

  • Cairo Metro – On 31st January 2021, it was reported that the new Cairo Metro Line 3 had reached 49% completion. The $6.2billion project will connect Greater Cairo to many surrounding cities, and will require a large skilled workforce to deliver on time for the April 2023 deadline.
  • Seawater Plant – In January 2021 Egypt announced a partnership with Russia to revolutionise the country’s drinking water systems. Moscow will support the construction of a plant to produce sweater desalination components. Manufacturing in this area (and the recruitment of those needed to build and maintain the systems) will be a key priority for the Egyptian Government in the next few years.
  • Iconic Tower – Now home to Africa’s tallest skyscraper, Egypt’s new capital in the desert to the east of Cairo will see an abundance of construction activity in the coming decade. The Egyptian Government are in the process of transferring all ministries to the new capital, with 50,000 skilled employees required to move to the city in the next year.

2. Ghana

Ghana has been consistently rising in popularity with expats and skilled migrant workers. The Government and businesses have poured investment into a nationwide turnaround, which has seen the nation recently named Africa’s most peaceful country and one of the continent’s most stable, prosperous economies. With education and social issues a priority, teachers are in high demand, and skilled construction workers and project managers are needed to build schools, health centres and urban housing projects. 

Whilst contractors looking to work in Ghana will need a Work and Residence Permit in addition to a medical examination, and working applications processes can take several months, experienced individuals can apply directly to the Ministry of Labour and work with the Government to shorten their waiting times.

Ghanaian officials have committed to diversifying the economy, with President Nana Akufo-Addo announcing significant financial investment into agriculture and manufacturing. The Government aims to support the nation’s businesses and help the country’s economy prosper further rather than relying on the exports of recent years. Ghana is also making a name for itself in the sustainable materials and renewable energy space: a recent announcement revealed that the country will open sub-Saharan Africa’s first ever liquefied natural gas-to-power (LNG) project.

Highly-qualified contractors will be welcomed to help Ghana feed, house, support and upskill its population, and drive ethical and sustainable business growth across the country. 

3. South Africa

Cape Town was recently declared the best city to live and work on the continent. South Africa is the continent’s largest economy, delivering a wealth of employment prospects to local residents and expat and migrant workers, and its wildlife safaris and beautiful coastline mean the country is also the most popular place to visit in Africa. Johannesburg and Durban are favoured by international workforces, meaning that travelling contractors will find a ready social community.  

Those seeking freelance or temporary employment in manufacturing and engineering will find a thriving manufacturing hub: South Africa (SA) is the most industrialised and diversified economy on the continent. IT and tech contractors are particularly welcome due to the nation’s significant investment in the tech industries. As the most technologically advanced African nation, SA received more new IT and software projects than any of its neighbours in 2020, encompassing almost half of all new African tech projects in this category.

With continued championing and investment from venture capitalists, alongside Government interest and financial backing, the SA IT and tech industry is waiting and ready for the next wave of technological talent.

4. Morocco

Ranked the best African country for quality of life in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality-of-life index, Morocco is the fifth largest economy on the continent by GDP. SMEs face major skills shortages, with employment historically concentrated in lower-skilled and unskilled labour, meaning that the country is in urgent need of qualified and experienced international workers who can help Morocco achieve its expansion aims through non-agricultural production and the service industries.

Located in the very North of Africa, Morocco’s proximity to Europe and easy transport links make the country an ideal choice for contractors wanting to regularly visit home on longer assignments. Following the lifting of Covid-19 lockdown and travel restrictions, the air transport links and tourist popularity of Morocco, particularly from Europe – the country is one of the 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world – are set to keep Aircraft Engineers and Aviation contractors very busy. Morocco provides a wealth of sights and opportunities for keen tourists and history enthusiasts, such as ancient cities, rich cultural heritage sites and mountain ranges, as well as beaches and shopping districts to appeal to those seeking relaxation.

5. Botswana

Contractors concerned about compliance can rest easy when working in Botswana: the country is consistently rated as the least corrupt in Africa by Transparency International, and unlike many of its neighbours, the country has been without war or conflict since first becoming a sovereign nation in 1966. The Government is dedicated to a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and combines its prioritisation of the law with a free and growing economy – judged as the fastest-growing economy in the world – powered by support for the nation’s businesses. 

Due to Government investment and championing of business growth, self-employed contractors can enjoy lower taxes, tax holiday options of up to 10 years to give start-ups a chance to succeed, and fewer restrictions combined with greater access to investment and international markets. Botswana is continually investing in its infrastructure and services industries and provides duty- and quota-free access to many international markets such as the EU, USA and Southern African Union, ideally positioning the country to provide profitable employment across industries.

English is widely spoken, meaning an easy transition for foreign workers, and the nation’s well-educated workforce originates from peaceful and harmonious communities, presenting Botswana as a welcome place to live and work.

Get Support for Your Next Overseas Contracting Job

Looking for contract work in a different country can be challenging at the best of times. Generate’s specialist team of payroll and contractor management experts have experience in 90 different countries around the world – find out how we can help you.


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