Tips for Effective Relocation to Africa
Africa is often mistakenly approached as a single location, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for relocation to African countries. Our new Best Practices for Effective Relocation to Africa: A Guide for Global Mobility Managers provides best-practice solutions for global mobility professionals who are relocating international assignees. Below are some of our ‘top tips’ on successful relocation into this unique continent:
Prepare, Don’t Scare
Safety and security is arguably the biggest concern for international assignees and families, and it’s important to provide realistic yet non-alarmist information about potential dangers. We do recommend a robust security process for moves into African countries, as a perception of a lack of safety can deter quality candidates.
Consider the Impact of Limited Infrastructure on the Relocation
Locals from some African countries may have looser interpretations of time keeping and punctuality. But slow communication may not always be a cultural trait; instead, it may simply be the result of an area having limited infrastructure. As a result, patience is key when relocating to the continent. Power outages in Nigeria and South Africa can delay email. Traffic in cities like Nairobi and Cairo can disrupt travel plans, as can inclement weather, such as sandstorms in North Africa and monsoons in Equatorial Africa.
Allow Extra Time to Meet Compliance Laws
Along with 54 countries come 54 different sets of compliance issues. As such, mobility managers face a constant challenge to balance local practice with corporate culture. South Africa, for example, requires a good deal of documentation to complete its work visa process. Assignees should gather all necessary documentation as far in advance as possible to help avoid delays.
Expect Costly Housing
By world standards, good-quality rental accommodations can be expensive. Rental apartments in Angola’s capital city, Luanda, may cost up to £11,500 (US$18,013) per month, with a three-bedroom house at £19,200 (US$30,000). Be sure to set assignee expectations, as they may expect something quite palatial when they see their housing allowance!
Hospitality: To Go or Not To Go
In Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, hospitality is important and it is not uncommon to be invited to dinner at a colleague’s home. If an assignee receives an invitation, they should accept and reciprocate where they can. This is especially so if Muslim friends or colleagues invite the assignee to an Iftar (the breaking of the fast) during Ramadan. In other countries, such as Nigeria, Angola, and Chad, invitations are often extended as a courtesy and do not always have to be accepted.
For more information on relocating to Africa and practical guidance and tips for success, request a copy of our Best Practices for Effective Relocation to Africa: A Guide for Global Mobility Managers.