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Is Africa the Next Big Global Talent Market?

Is Africa the Next Big Global Talent Market?

“Africa possesses… a young and entrepreneurial population, territories that are transforming quickly with growing regions and rapid urbanization, considerable natural resources, dynamic economies, rich ecosystems, and supportive diaspora."

From “Africa’s Development Dynamics: Growth, Jobs and Inequalities,” by the African Union Commission and OECD, 2018  

There is emerging competition amongst global innovation hotspots, with Africa moving closer to India and China. According to Gartner, Africa will become a technology hotspot in the next five years as an inflow of developers revolutionizes the continent into a "world-leading startup ecosystem." 

The research reports a 30% increase in developer talent in Africa with increased venture capital funding. This may ultimately lead the region to become Asia’s biggest competitor in software development by 2026. A 2021 study by Partech backs this report that tracked a VC funding of $5.2 billion raised by 640 startups, a 92% YoY growth compared to 2020.

In short, with its large pool of young talent in tech as well as other sectors, Africa is set to become the rising star of the global economy. 

Likewise, Empower Africa, the African business community focused on enhancing business and trade across the continent, designates Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa as the upcoming outsourcing hotspots, especially for business process outsourcing. Furthermore, “Disrupt Africa” reports Egypt as the “African Tech Hub” with a continuous rise in venture capital investments. 

Besides these rising markets, Rwanda, a small Eastern African country, has become Africa’s popular tech hub. Rwanda's ICT policies and solutions have contributed to a solid foundation in the transportation, governance, education, and agriculture sectors. Moreover, its position is likely to improve significantly as a result of the establishment of Kigali Innovation City; an innovation hub meant to facilitate pan-African talent by attracting technology majors, startups, investors, as well as academia.   

Against this backdrop, Africa’s knowledge-based economy is moving forward with a vast talent pool yet to be tapped as global companies focus on the region’s potential.

Africa - The Upcoming Global Talent Powerhouse

There are several economic, cultural, political, and technological reasons for Africa to be one of the world's ten fastest-growing economies, and it holds extraordinary promise as a nursery for the next generation of talent.  

Here are the three most significant factors behind Africa being the next global talent center. 

The Demographics and Language 

Africa is a large continent with a population of approximately 1.4 billion people. It has the world’s youngest population seeking employment opportunities, with 28% of the population between the ages of 18 and 35 and unemployment ranging from 17% to 35%. A World Bank report says that Africa's 15- to 24 age group is expected to grow by approximately 6 million per year over the next decade, creating an environment conducive to new ideas, technology, and growth. Simply put, anyone looking for next-gen workers should begin with Africa. 

Speaking on the cultural front, Africa is the most culturally diverse continent in the world! Being a resilient, adaptable, empathetic, diligent, sincere, and heedful group results in a quality human resource that is well-suited to meeting the needs of MNC clients. Due to this cultural diversity, a large proportion of corporate professionals are fluent in English, both verbally and in writing. This familiarity with the English language makes international communication a breeze. 

The Time Zone and Cost Advantage 

When employers look for workers abroad, they frequently face two obstacles. The first is language and the second impediment is working hours. Africa has multiple time zones that overlap one another and are in close time-zone affinity for countries on the European continent seeking to render services, particularly during working hours, unlike other Asian countries such as India and China. 

Since it is a hub of developing nations, labor costs are naturally much lower than in more industrialized countries worldwide, where salaries are much higher! Furthermore, the cost of living is relatively lower. As a result, Africa is undoubtedly becoming an appealing alternative for companies looking for cost-effective options! Time Doctor reports Salary Explorer numbers where Africa’s average monthly salary is around 758 USD, with respect to the exchange rates in March 2022, which is quite low compared to the rest of the world.

In short, Africa's allure of providing round-the-clock quality service at lower rates draws businesses looking for outsourcing services from all over the world.

The “First-World” Infrastructure

Several African nations have already developed world-class infrastructure. For instance, the physical infrastructure of the buildings in Cape Town is on par with the appearance of opulent European buildings. As quoted in TSIA World Interact Conference 2022, 37 of the 38 coastal African countries have access to undersea network cables, and inland countries have impressive fiber cables that provide strong global connectivity. Similarly, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Rwanda's Fourth Industrial Revolution Center was the first of four centers established globally to shape new policies and strategies for technological advancements. 

On the whole, Africa understands the inherent value of opportunities and has thus made the best use of them from the start by developing splendid infrastructure. 

The Pipeline of World-Class Talent and Skills

Due to Africa’s improved education systems, many global businesses are tapping into its vast pool of highly skilled talent in  IT, engineering, business management, and finance. Furthermore, with increasing synergies between educational institutions, industry bodies, government departments, and private enterprises, sustainable skills development ecosystems have been created, enabling mutually beneficial returns. 

The evidence is in the numbers. Tertiary education graduation rates in Africa have skyrocketed, providing ITO business buyers and operators with a large, untapped talent pool. For instance, there are 2.1 million relevant degree holders in the top offshoring locations in Africa. Moreover, Africa's working-age population is expected to grow by 450 million people, or nearly 70%, by 2035, according to a World Bank report. These figures clearly depict that Africa has the capability to fill the global talent crunch. 

Considering this, it may be said that hiring skilled labor from Africa is a good business decision, which also empowers and provides a decent financial safety net for the African youth. As a case, businesses around the globe should seek quality workforce from African nations, given the variety of services that can be easily sourced from the continent. To maximize the overall efficiency and integrated profitability of the business while creating job opportunities for the rising African talent.

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