As some world economies recover, analysts and investors are looking at the enormous possibilities for growth and development in Africa. Though unemployment in some African nations reportedly remains higher than 25 percent, general numbers are improving, and many believe that emerging economies in Africa are set to expand rapidly in the coming years.
With more than 70 percent of Africa’s population under the age of 25, no one doubts that there is a massive untapped workforce — and if trends continue toward more political stability, less regulation and increased private investment, it’ll be easy to see why some analysts are so optimistic. Opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in Africa might skyrocket in the next decade, but for young adults entering the workforce now, many wonder where the best opportunities are. Here’s a quick look at some of the most promising professions in Africa’s developing nations.
This slideshow was first published in July 15, 2013.
Global investment is flooding back into Africa and fast approaching 2008 levels. Investment banking is one of the hottest fields to work in right now. Investment bankers typically help government agencies, companies, and organizations raise money by issuing and selling securities in the open market. In Nigeria, senior investment bankers can make as much as 13 million naira ($82,000) per year.
Telecommunications is taking Africa by storm as new technologies become available and more countries reduce regulations. Ninety percent of all telephone communication in Africa takes place on mobile phones, although some locales are still catching up. Telecommunications engineers typically combine electrical engineering and computer science to design and oversee the development of complex communications and data infrastructures and switching systems.
Recent oil and gas discoveries in East Africa and the Gulf of Guinea suggest a very positive outlook for the industry’s continued growth. All told, African countries are responsible for roughly 7 percent of world oil production — and that number is expected to rise. Numerous engineering disciplines are needed in the oil and gas industry. Jobs include exploration managers, drilling engineers, and mechanical engineers.
As local airlines open up new routes and major worldwide airlines schedule more international flights into Africa, the demand for airline pilots is growing. Experienced airline pilots in Nigeria make as much as 11 million naira ($70,000) per year, and as demand grows, salaries are expected to rise.
As broadband slowly penetrates the African market, the need for localized websites and business-related software is expected to grow, creating new demand for designers, programmers and cyber-security professionals all over the continent. Software Development managers in South Africa make an average of $13,500 per year.
There’s been high demand for physicians of all disciplines in Africa for several years. As a result, doctors are making dramatically higher salaries. There are many job opportunities, specifically for obstetricians, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, emergency room doctors as well as dentists.
Developing properties for commercial purposes from shopping centers to industrial complexes has always been a profitable business. Though many markets around the world are oversaturated, Africa has tremendous opportunity for growth. Investors say that retail development is currently in a period of rapid expansion, particularly in Nigeria and Ghana.
Urbanization trends and the growing middle class in many African nations will translate into a tremendous need for new construction. Global investment in new projects is already driving the construction of new townships and cities in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. The new cities are built following the work-play-live model which is popular in modern western developments.
North Africa boasts some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and a variety of hotel chains are already well-established. Now, new hotels are popping up all across sub-Saharan Africa to accommodate business travelers. The world’s largest hotel chains have even more ambitious plans for the future. The average salary for hotel managers in South Africa is $15,500 per year.
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Broadband penetration in new African markets means more media outlets and new online opportunities. Advertising through these media to the growing middle class in many countries is a wide-open field that may have little impact today, but is expected to be in high demand in the years to come.
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