When talking about relocating abroad, some destinations present more difficulties than others. Africa, huge and full of differences from country to country, is the continent which is considered as the most challenging one by expatriates.
Among the difficulties encountered, two seem to be the most puzzling ones: the absence of safety and the lack of proper infrastructure.
Each African country presents some issues: political instability, high criminal rates, guerrillas… It is crucial for companies to make plans in advance in order to make their expatriates feel safe. Moreover, local connections are often necessary to make sure to tackle issues in the right way.
Training is also essential to prepare expatriates for the context they are to live in and avoid unnecessary anxieties for them.
Lack of infrastructure
Services in Africa are often not fast and reliable such as in the US or in Europe. An appropriate organization is required to avoid annoying situations and delays. For instance, in some sub-Saharan countries it can take up to two months to ship goods. It can be also difficult to obtain information and get in contact with responsible authorities.
Rules to find and secure accommodation in African countries can be very different from Western ones. In Nigeria, for example, a year’s rent is due before the renter can move into the place. Rental rates also tend to slightly increase from one year to the other.
Every organization has to create ad-hoc compensation packages for expatriates to address these issues and to avoid dissatisfaction among assignees.
It can be challenging to find an international school in some African countries. Usually, in North Africa it is way easier to find good schools with French or American curricula. It can be trickier in countries such as Zambia or Angola, where the choice is narrow and waiting lists can be very long.
Therefore, a firm must carefully check the situation of schooling in a country in order to prepare the expat well in advance and avoid issues with his or her family situation.